Cancer and some treatments (such as chemotherapy and stem cell transplants) can weaken the body’s immune system by affecting white blood cells that protect your body against infection. Take care when preparing food, because your lowered immunity can increase the risk of your getting sick from the food you eat.
To make food as safe as possible, see the Food safety when you have low immunity guidelines on the Ministry for Primary Industries site.
Prepare and store food to minimise the growth of germs.
• Wash hands thoroughly before meal preparation and eating.
• Wash, dry or cook fruit, salad and vegetables.
• Handle raw meat, fish, poultry, and eggs with care, and clean thoroughly any utensils and surfaces that have been in contact with these foods.
Keep raw meats separate from cooked food.
• Use pasteurised milk, cheese and juices.
• Cover leftovers and put them in the fridge within two hours. Eat within 24 hours, reheat until steaming hot, and only reheat leftovers once.
• Use ingredients that are as fresh as possible and use before their use-by date.
Know and avoid high-risk foods.
• Avoid raw and smoked seafood, deli salads and meats, premade sandwiches, sushi, egg dishes and any raw or undercooked meat, fish, shellfish or chicken. Take care if you are eating away from home. If possible ask for your meals to be made fresh and avoid foods that have been sitting for unknown periods of time.