Who Is at Risk for Foodborne Illness?

Immune systems may be weakened by medical treatments, such as steroid or chemotherapy, or by conditions, such as AIDS, cancer or diabetes. You are also at increased risk if you suffer from liver disease or alcoholism or if you have decreased stomach acidity due to gastric surgery or the chronic use of antacids.

If you are at risk, you are advised not to eat:

  • Raw fish or shellfish, including oysters, clams, mussels and scallops
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk or soft cheeses unless they are labeled “made with pasteurized milk”
  • Refrigerated pates or meat spreads (canned or shelf stable pates and meat spreads may be eaten)
  • Raw or lightly cooked eggs or foods containing raw or lightly cooked eggs, including certain salad dressings, cookie and cake bakers, sauces and beverages such as unpasteurized egg nog (foods made from commercially pasteurized eggs are safe to eat)
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood unless in a cooked dish such as a casserole
  • Raw or undercooked meat or poultry
  • Raw sprouts such as alfalfa, clover and radish
  • Unpasteurized or untreated fruit juices or vegetable juices (These juices will carry a warning label)

Some foods that are brought precooked should be reheated because they can become contaminated with pathogens after they have been processed and packaged. These foods include hot dogs, luncheon meats, fermented and dry sausage and other deli-style meat and poultry products.

Information from Fight BAC, www.fightbac.org