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. Im your host for this segment. And 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 transplant recipients should take to lower their risk of foodborne illness.
Hello, Lou Ann, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Michelle. Im pleased to be here.
Certain people have a higher risk of contracting foodborne illnesses. Transplant recipients unfortunately fall into this high-risk category. Lou Ann, what makes transplant recipients more susceptible to foodborne illnesses?
Michelle, transplant recipients are at risk because their immune system will try to reject or destroy the new solid organ or bone marrow transplant. Because of the possibility of rejection, transplant recipients take immunosuppressive medications. These medications suppress the immune system, and the body becomes more vulnerable to developing infections.
What are the consequences of developing a foodborne illness?
The consequences are very serious. If a transplant recipient 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, transplant recipients must be vigilant when handling, preparing, and consuming foods.
What food safety precautions do you recommend for transplant recipients?
I recommend the four basic steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
- Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often.
Separate - Dont cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods.
Cook - Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked.
Chill - Refrigerate or freeze food promptly.
What foods should transplant recipients 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 seafood.
- 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 salad.
- 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 illness often presents itself with flu-like symptoms which include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Transplant recipients 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 transplant recipients and others who are at risk of foodborne illness by visiting the FSIS Web site at
www.fsis.usda.gov. Thats 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. Thats 1-888-674-6854.
Thats it for this week. Weve 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. Im Lieutenant Commander Michelle Everett and Id 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 at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative "Ask Karen" at
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Thanks for tuning in.