For patients who must avoid even the slightest risk of eating raw produce (including bone marrow transplant patients), Barrett recommends fully cooked fruits and vegetables or commercially frozen or canned produce to receive the benefits of healthy eating. A baked apple rather than a raw apple is a simple and delicious solution.
Dining out can present several risks and challenges because of the unknowns of what is going on behind the scenes with sanitation. What might be perfectly safe for healthy customers could sicken someone with a weakened immune system so advice includes avoiding all salad bars and buffets and requesting that meat and fish be cooked to well- done. If patients are advised to avoid public spaces, they can still enjoy foods from their favorite restaurants as take-out but make sure to reheat dishes when you get them home to at least 165 degrees F or until their steaming hot. Throw out leftovers after 24 hours.
Other potentially hazardous foods because of the bacteria they may contain include unpasteurized milk and cheeses, blue cheeses, brie and other soft cheeses, undercooked eggs, unroasted raw nuts, unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices, honey in the comb, cold smoked salmon and certainly no sushi or raw shellfish. Barrett says specialized yogurts with live and active cultures are on the “foods to avoid” list at Emory, too, “Little is known about their potential harm to a weakened immune system. Yogurt has been debated here every year. And every cancer center has different guidelines.”