Northfield, IL-If rising fuel prices continue to push the cost of food higher, United States nursing homes might not be prepared to deal with system wide pudding shortages according to researchers who looked at more than 400 nursing homes across the country.
"Of the nursing homes we studied, less than a quarter had plans in place specifically to deal with pudding shortages," lead researcher Everett Cosby, chief of the section of pudding epidemiology at the Kraft Foods research and development laboratory in Chicago, explained. "That leaves nearly 2.5 million elderly citizens at risk of receiving less than the recommended daily allowance of pudding, and that is unacceptable in a high risk population that is prone to pudding deficiency related health concerns."
In response to the findings, researchers from Kraft have issued a number of pudding management guidelines for nursing homes:
1. Provide education to staff members as well as to the families of nursing home residents regarding the importance of adequate pudding levels in men and women over the age of 65.
2. Open lines of communication with local pudding providers is essential in maintaining an adequate supply during shortages.
3. Stockpile at least a one month supply of pudding, preferably in a secret location off limits to residents.
4. Designate a trusted staff member to be responsible for pudding preparedness, having access to the hidden supply of pudding in case of a shortage in your area, and to protect the pudding horde at all costs.
5. Designate another staff member, or preferably a private security firm, to be responsible for determining if the staff member in charge of pudding preparedness has been tempted by the enormous cache of delicious pudding and become a pudding preparedness liability.
According to Cosby, the effect of a pudding shortage on this population should not be taken lightly. "If nursing homes are to be called upon to serve as a source of care, and pudding, for vulnerable citizens with nowhere else to turn, the impact of a widespread pudding supply breakdown could be catastrophic." Kraft Foods Inc. is calling for congress to enact legislation that will ensure that nursing home residents receive a steady supply of pudding in the event of any necessary pudding rationing.