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How To Avoid Infection From Food When Your Immune System Is Particuarly Weak


The following suggestions concerning food and a weakened immune system were compiled by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington and have been summarized by the American Cancer Society. The purpose of the suggestions is to help you avoid specific foods that are more likely to contain germs that could cause infection while you have a weakened immune system.


  • Raw
    • And undercooked meat, fish, poultry, tofu, eggs and egg substitutes
    • Or nonheat-treated honey and honey in the comb
    • Grian products
    • Uncooked brewer's yeast
    • Nuts
  • Cold smoked fish (salmon), lox and picked fish
  • From a delicatessan
    • Meats and cold cuts
    • Salads
  • Cured hard salami in a natural wrap
  • Unpasteurized 
    • Beer
    • Milk and milk products such as cheese and yogurt
    • Commercial fruit and begetable juices
  • Cheeses 
    • Brie, camembert, feta cheese, farmer's and sharp cheddar cheeses
    • Cheeses which contain chili pepper or other uncooked vegetables
    • Cheeses with molds such as blue cheese, Roquefort, gorgonzola and Stilton
  • Salad
    • Unwashed raw vegetables and fruits and those with mold that you can see
    • All raw vegetable sprouts, such as alfalfa and mung beans
    • Fresh refrigerated salad dressings  that contain aged cheese such as blue cheese or Roquefort or raw eggs
  • All miso products, tempeh and mate tea
  • Moldy and outdated food products
  • Water from a well unless it is tested every year and found to be safe
  • Herbal preparations and nutrient supplements
  • Roasted nuts in the shell
  • Commercial salsas stored in the refrigerated case
  • Cold brewed tea made with warm or cold water
  • Unrefrigerated, cream-filled pastry products which are not in an unopened can, bottle or package that can be stored before op[ening at room temperatue but require refrigeration after opening.


  • High protein food: 
    • Well-cooked bacon, beef, chicken, fish, ham, hot dogs, lamb, pork, sausage, veal
    • Canned fish 
    • Well-cooked pasteurized eggs or egg custard; 
    • Cream, cottgage or processed cheeses 
    • Pasteurized yogurt
    • Cooked homemade, canned, dehydrated, frozen soups
  • Breads, cereals, rice and pasta
    • All breads, bagels, muffins, rolls
    • Cereals without dried fruits, nuts or seeds
    • Crackers
    • French toast
    • Noodles
    • Pancakes
    • Pasta
    • Potatoes
    • Rice
  • Fruits and vegetables: 
    • Peeled, thick-skinned, unblemished fruit (banana, citrus fruit, melon)
    • Peeled apples
    • Canned fruits
    • Cooked dried fruits
    • Well-cooked fresh, frozen or canned vegetables
  • Drinks: Processed fruit juice, pasteurized milk, instant breakfast shakes, homemade milk shakes, non-dairy creamer, soda, coffee, tea, commercial liquid nutrition supplements
  • Plain peanut butter
  • Herbs which are added to foods only during the cooking process
  • Sugar, jam, jelly, preserves, syrup, molasses, mustard, ketchup; candy, chocolate; pickles, relish, olives
  • Butter, margarine, cooked gravies, mayonnaise, salad dressing, vegetable oils
  • Fruit pies; cakes and cookes without nuts; flavored gelatin; commercial ice cream, sherbert, popsicles, pretzels, chips

For information about avoiding infection, in general, click here. For the following specific situations, click on the link:

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