Old people are putting their health in danger by ignoring the ‘use-by’ dates on food.

The Food Standards Agency has warned that the “waste not, want not” attitude of elderly people could be a cause of the rising incidence of listeria food poisoning. In 2007 there were 455 cases resulting in 162 deaths while in 2000 there were just 194 cases leading to 68 fatalities.

The agency said almost 60% of over-60s did not realise the ‘use-by’ date on a food label was an important indicator of whether the food was safe.

The news comes after the Government last week said it planned to phase out the use of ‘sell by’ and ‘best before’ dates on food packaging.