Preparing Food Safely


While you are being treated for cancer, your immune system is weaker than normal. Most anticancer drugs decrease your body’s ability to make white blood cells that fight infection. You need to be especially careful to avoid infections and foodborne illnesses, which can be caused by eating food that is spoiled or not prepared, cooked or stored properly.

Handwashing
Should be done frequently, with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially underneath finger nails.
Hands must be washed after:
  • Using the restroom.
  • Handling garbage.
  • Eating, coughing, sneezing or touching the hair or face.
  • Handling dirty dishes.
Hands must be washed before and after:
  • Handling raw foods, especially raw meat
  • Food preparation
Food Preparation
  • Clean all utensils and dishes in hot soapy water after every use.
  • Work surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • Cutting boards used for raw food preparation must be changed or disinfected before being used to prepare cooked foods.
  • Avoid using wooden utensils and cutting boards.
  • Never taste food items with the same utensil you use for stirring.


Food Safety
  • Photo of someone prepearing a saladCheck expiration dates on all foods.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating. Scrub rough surfaces, like the skin of melons or potatoes, prior to cutting.
  • Defrost frozen food in refrigerator, not on the counter. Cook it after it is defrosted. Do not refreeze it.
  • Do not use canned food if the can is dented, swollen or damaged.
  • Eggs must be cooked to well-done or a solid white or yolk. Do not use cracked eggs.
  • Do not consume food that contains raw egg such as cake batter or cookie dough.
  • Raw fish, shellfish and meat should be eliminated from the diet.
  • Avoid moldy foods.
  • Meat, fish, poultry and eggs should be well-done.
  • Avoid hot foods from food buffets–these foods may contain bacteria from inadequate heating.
  • Use only pasteurized meat and dairy products, juices and ciders.
Food Storage
  • Leave food in store wrapping unless the wrap is torn or isn’t resealable.
  • Keep all food wrapped or in covered containers in the refrigerator.
  • Use leftover food within 48 hours to avoid spoilage.
  • Do not leave high-protein foods (eggs, meat, fish, milk and milk products) at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately after a meal.
  • Store food in small portions in shallow dishes.
Food Temperature
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator and cook it immediately.
  • Hot foods should be cooked to a temperature of 165° F or greater.
  • Cold foods should be maintained under 40° F or less.
  • You may consider purchasing a thermometer to check food temperatures, especially when cooking foods in the microwave.
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