This handout is designed to provide practical guidance on how to reduce your risk of foodborne illness following a transplant. In addition to this guide, we encourage you to check with your doctor or healthcare provider to identify foods and other products that you should avoid. You have a special need for this important information.
Especially important for transplant patients
As a transplant recipient, you may be familiar with the topic of transplant rejection. It is the body’s natural reaction or immune system’s response to “foreign invasion.”
Make safe food handling a lifelong commitment to minimize your risk of foodborne illness. Be aware that as you age, your immunity to infection is naturally weakened.
Making wise food choices
Some foods are more risky for you than others. In general, the foods that are most likely to contain harmful bacteria or viruses fall into two categories:
Interestingly, the risk these foods may actually pose depends on the origin or source of the food and how the food is processed, stored and prepared. Follow these guidelines for safe selection and preparation of your favorite foods.
If you have questions about wise food choices, be sure to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider. He or she can answer any specific questions and help you make the right choices.
All consumers need to follow the Four Basic Steps to Food Safety:
Handling and preparing food safely
Foodborne pathogens are sneaky. Food that appears completely fine can contain pathogens - disease-causing bacteria, viruses, or parasites - that can make you sick. You should never taste a food to determine whether or not it is safe to eat.
As a transplant recipient, it is especially important that you, or those preparing your food, are always careful with food handling and preparation. The easiest way to do this is to check your steps - clean, separate, cook and chill.
Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often
Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, counter tops, and food.
To ensure that your hands and surfaces are clean, be sure to:
Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate
Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are spread from one food product to another. This is especially common when handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. The key is to keep these foods—and their juices—away from ready-to-eat foods.
To prevent cross-contamination, remember to:
Cook: Cook to safe temperatures
Foods are safely cooked when they are heated to the recommended safe minimum internal temperatures, as shown on the “Is It Done Yet?” chart.
To ensure that your foods are cooked safely, always:
Is it done yet?
Use a food thermometer to be most accurate. You can’t always tell by looking.
Chill: Refrigerate promptly
Cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 4°C or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce risk of foodborne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the refrigerator temperature is consistently 4°C or below and the freezer temperature is 0°C or below.
To chill foods properly:
These time limit guidelines will help keep refrigerated food safe to eat.
Because freezing keeps food safe indefinitely, recommended storage times for frozen foods are for quality only.
Becoming a better shopper
Follow these safe food-handling practices while you shop:
When shopping for food, it is important to read the label carefully.
Food product dating
Read the “Safe Handling Label” for food safety information on raw foods.
Closed or coded dates are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer.
Transporting your groceries
Follow these tips for safe transporting of your groceries:
Being smart when eating out
Eating out can be lots of fun, so make it an enjoyable experience by following some simple guidelines to avoid food-borne illness. Remember to observe your food when it is served, and do not ever hesitate to ask questions before you order. Waiters and waitresses can be quite helpful if you ask how a food is prepared. Also, let them know you do not want any food item containing raw meat, poultry, seafood, sprouts or eggs.
Here are some basic rules when ordering food:
If in doubt, make another selection!
Know the symptoms
Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself in a situation where you suspect you have a foodborne illness. Foodborne illness often presents itself with flu-like symptoms.
These symptoms include:
If you suspect that you could have a foodborne illness contact your doctor or healthcare provider right away.
When in doubt—contact your doctor or healthcare provider!
© Copyright 2017 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All rights reserved.
This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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