Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home podcast
series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and
prepares meat, poultry and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling,
and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods
safe during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Lieutenant Commander Michelle Everett with the Food
Safety and Inspection Service. And I’m your host for this segment. With me today is Commander
Lou Ann Rector, the Public Health Service Liaison with the USDA. Lou Ann and I will discuss the
food safety precautions that people with diabetes should take to lower their risk of foodborne
Hello, Lou Ann. Welcome to the show.
Thank you, Michelle. I’m pleased to be here.
Certain people have a higher risk of contracting foodborne illnesses. People with diabetes unfortunately
fall into this high-risk category. Lou Ann, what makes people with diabetes more susceptible to
Michelle, diabetes can cause various organs and systems of the body to function improperly and
makes a person more prone to infections. The immune system in a diabetic may not readily recognize
harmful bacteria, causing a delay in the body’s natural response to foreign invasion and an increased
risk for infection.
What are the consequences of developing a foodborne illness?
The consequences are very serious. If a person with diabetes contracts a foodborne illness, that
person is more likely to have a lengthier illness, undergo hospitalization, or even die. To avoid
contracting a foodborne illness, diabetics must be vigilant when handling, preparing, and consuming
What food safety precautions do you recommend for people with diabetes?
I recommend the four basic steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
- Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Separate - Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked
- Cook - Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked.
- Chill - Refrigerate or freeze food promptly.
What foods should people with diabetes avoid to lower their risk of contracting a foodborne illness?
They should avoid:
- Hot dogs, luncheon, and deli meats unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
- Refrigerated pate’, meat spreads from a meat counter, smoked seafood, and raw or undercooked
- Raw (unpasteurized) milk and foods that contain unpasteurized milk.
- Salads made in the store such as ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, or seafood
- Soft cheeses such as Feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, Brie, Camembert cheeses, blue-veined
cheeses, and Panela unless it is labeled as made with pasteurized milk.
- Soft-boiled or “over-easy” eggs, as the yolks are not fully cooked.
Well, how will a person know if they have a foodborne illness and what should they do about it?
Foodborne illnesses often presents itself with flu-like symptoms which will include nausea, vomiting,
diarrhea, and fever. People with diabetes who experience these symptoms should contact a physician
or health care provider immediately. It is also helpful to save the food suspected of causing
the illness and its packaging material. Be sure to wrap it securely with a label that says “Danger,”
place it in the freezer, and report the contaminated food to the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline.
You can learn more about food safety for people with diabetes and others who are at risk of foodborne
illness by visiting the FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov.
That’s www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit us online for assistance from our virtual representative “Ask
Karen” at AskKaren.gov.
Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
That’s it for this week. We’ve been talking to Commander Lou Ann Rector from the USDA Food Safety
and Inspection Service. Thank you so much, Lou Ann, for your helpful guidance on food safety for
diabetics. I’m Lieutenant Commander Michelle Everett and I’d like to thank you for joining us
for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And remember, “Be Food Safe.”
Well, that's all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode of food safety
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative "Ask
Karen" at askkaren.gov .
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Thanks for tuning in.