Food Safety Guidelines After Transplant


Food safety plays a significant role in your recovery. It is important to maintain appropriate food safety measures to ensure you remain healthy as an immune-compromised individual. Please use the following food safety guidelines when preparing your meals or eating out. These guidelines should be maintained indefinitely as you will be on immunosuppressants for the remainder of your life.

  • Wash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water before preparing or eating foods.
  • Always wash hands after touching raw meat, fish, poultry or eggs.
  • Keep cooked meats and other foods away from surfaces that have touched raw meat, fish, poultry or eggs.
  • Sanitize preparation areas, utensils, appliances, cutting boards, counters, sponges and dishtowels after contact with raw meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
  • Always cook meat, fish and poultry within 1-2 days after purchasing or freeze for a later date.
  • Freeze or refrigerate foods within 2 hours of cooking. As a general rule, discard leftovers after 4 days. Consider dating leftovers to make it easier to track. Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and stir to ensure adequate temperature throughout.
  • Avoid thawing frozen meat, poultry and seafood on the counter top. Instead, place these food items in the refrigerator the night before to thaw appropriately. Heat hot dogs and deli meats in the microwave for 20 seconds or until the food is steaming prior to consumption.
  • When there are shared foods, such as a barbecue, don’t let hot or cold perishables sit out longer than 2 hours or 1 hour when the outdoor temperature is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Be wary of buffets as these foods are often left out at inappropriate temperatures.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked meats, eggs, poultry, fish or shellfish. They should be cooked to the following temperatures to prevent food-borne illnesses: red meats - 160 degrees Fahrenheit, poultry pieces - 170 degrees Fahrenheit, whole poultry - 180 degrees Fahrenheit, fish and shellfish - 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Do not eat raw oysters, clams or mussels due to risk of serious infections. Do not eat sushi due to the risk of food-borne illness with undercooked seafood.
  • Do not eat seed sprouts, such as mung, soy, bean or alfalfa as they can be contaminated with harmful bacteria.
  • Do not use raw honey. This type of honey has not been heated above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, posing a risk to immune-comprised individuals
  • Use only pasteurized apple cider and pasteurized dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and egg nog. Please be aware that ‘flash pasteurization’ products, such as Odwalla drinks should be avoided, as this process is not sufficient enough to kill all bacteria.
  • At home, wash all fruit and vegetables with cold running water, including skins and peels before slicing, cooking or eating. You do not need to wash with sprays; plain running water is sufficient.
  • When eating out, try to choose fruits with removable skins, such as bananas and oranges.
  • Never buy cans or other food items that are expired.
  • Drinking water should be from a safe, treated source.
  • If water source is not reliable, it should be boiled for three minutes and stored in a clean, covered container.
  • No well water, even if it is filtered.
  • In summary, in regards to food and beverage safety: When in doubt, throw it out!

For more information on general food safety recommendations,visit FoodSafety.gov.

Immediately After Your Transplant

For the first few weeks after your transplant, you will need good nutrition to help your body heal. It is crucial to eat enough calories and protein to help your incision heal and fight infection.