As a transplant recipient, prioritizing your health and wellness is of great importance. What you eat and drink is one component of your overall health – and making sure these foods and beverages are safe for you to consume is equally as important.
Good food safety and food handling guidelines should be followed by everyone.“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million persons get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from food-borne infection and illness in the United States each year. Many of these people are children, older adults, or have weakened immune systems and may not be able to fight infection normally.”1
This is exactly why good food safety practices are so important for those who have undergone a transplant surgery. The medications used to prevent rejection (such as CellCept and Tacrolimus or Sirolimus) suppress – or weaken – your immune system, making you more susceptible to food-borne pathogens.
The USDA promotes 4 key ideas to help reduce the risk of food-borne illness. These key ideas are: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. Great information regarding these 4 steps is available here: https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep-food-safe/4-steps-to-food-safety
Additionally, it is important to know which foods are higher risk (meaning they carry a greater risk for food-borne pathogens) and which foods are lower risk.
If you have well water, your well should be tested every 6 months and be found free from coliforms. If you have questions regarding the safety of your well water, you should speak with your transplant team for more information.
Following these good food safety practices and avoiding high risk foods are just a few ways to help keep you and your transplanted organ healthy.
References: 1. https://www.fda.gov/media/83755/download