OTTAWA - Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are reminding Canadians of the importance of food safety for people with weakened immune systems.

An illness can be difficult for any individual to deal with. Sometimes, when you are ill, your immune system is weakened by your condition or by the treatments you are receiving, which makes it harder for your body to fight off infections. Some examples of people who may have weakened immune systems include transplant patients and those with diabetes, HIV, as well as individuals receiving chemotherapy for cancer. It is extremely important for people with weakened immune systems and their caregivers to follow food safety steps and also avoid eating certain foods to help lower the risk of foodborne illness.

It's estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of foodborne illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.

To minimize the risks of foodborne illness, people with weakened immune systems and their caregivers should follow the four key steps to food safety: Cook; Clean; Chill and Separate.


  • Those with weakened immune systems should also pay close attention to what they're eating. Some foods are at a higher risk for foodborne illness than others.
    • Make sure to cook hot dogs and deli meats until they are steaming hot before eating them
    • Don't eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry and seafood
    • Avoid refrigerated smoked fish or seafood
    • Avoid unpasteurized juice, cider and milk
    • Avoid soft and semi-soft cheeses made from raw or unpasteurized milk
    • Avoid refrigerated pâtés and meat spreads
    • Avoid uncooked foods made from raw or unpasteurized eggs

For more information on the four steps to food safety and food safety tips for those with weakened immune systems, please visit:

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Media Enquiries:

Health Canada

(613) 957-2983

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

(613) 773-6600

Public Enquiries:

(613) 957-2991

1-866 225-0709