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Food Safety Focus (45th Issue, April 2010) – Food Incident Highlight

Immunocompromised Patients and Food Safety

Last month, it was reported that a patient with cancer was found to have positive stool culture for fungi in a pre-bone marrow transplant work-up. Immunocompromised patients are more susceptible to illness from ingesting food or medications contaminated with microorganisms. It is worth noting that some of the microorganisms that are harmless to healthy individuals may cause serious infections in people with lower immunity. Therefore, these patients must exercise cautions when preparing and consuming food, such as choose food carefully, check the expiry date and storage conditions listed on prepackaged food, never buy food that is displayed in unsafe or unclean conditions, and cook food thoroughly before consumption. Lastly, it is advised that they consult doctors or dietitians on specific dietary advice and precaution