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SOURCE Health Canada
OTTAWA, Feb. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Health Canada is reminding Canadians of the importance of food safety for people with weakened immune systems.
When you are ill, your immune system can be weakened, which makes it harder for your body to fight off infections. Examples of people who may have weakened immune systems include transplant patients and those with diabetes, HIV, as well as some cancer patients. It is extremely important for people with weakened immune systems to avoid eating certain foods, in order to help lower their risk of foodborne illness.
People with weakened immune systems, and their caregivers,should also follow the four key steps to food safety: Cook; Clean; Chill and Separate.
Cook - Always cook food to the safe internal temperatures. You can check this by using a digital food thermometer. Colour alone is not a reliable indicator that meat is safe to eat. Meat can turn brown before all the bacteria are killed.
Clean - Properly clean anything that comes in contact with the food (your hands, kitchen surfaces and utensils, reusable grocery bags, etc.).This will help eliminate bacteria and reduce your risk of foodborne illness. In addition, fruits and vegetables should be washed under running water that is suitable for drinking.
Chill - It is extremely important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot so that your food never reaches the "temperature danger zone," which is between 4oC and 60oC (40oF and 140oF). Defrosting raw meat, poultry and fish should be done in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or immersed in cold water (replaced every 30 minutes), never at room temperature. Foods defrosted in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
Separate - It is important to always separate your raw foods, such as meat and eggs, from ready-to-eat foods, such as cooked meat and vegetables, to avoid cross-contamination.
Close attention should also be paid to the foods themselves. Some foods are at a higher risk for foodborne illness than others.
It is estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of foodborne illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these cases could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.
For more information on the food safety for those with weakened immune systems, please visit:
It's Your Health
Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education
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