Food Safety

Vulnerable Populations

pregnant woman

We’re all susceptible to food poisoning, but certain people are more vulnerable and more likely to develop severe illness complications, or even death. If you or someone you know fits into one of these groups, find out what you need to know:

Pregnant Women

Food safety is especially important during pregnancy because pregnancy can change how your immune system works. These changes can make you more likely to get food poisoning, and for certain foodborne illnesses to cause more serious conditions. Food poisoning can also make your baby sick before and after being born.

To keep yourself and your baby safe during your pregnancy, follow these prevention tips and avoid the following foods :

Unpasteurized milk, cheese and dairy products Pasteurized hard cheese and dairy products
Soft cheeses, even if they are pasteurized (e.g., brie, feta, camembert and mould-ripened cheeses like gorgonzola) Hard cheese (e.g., cheddar, swiss, parmesan, colby, or cooked pasteurized soft cheeses
Deli meats (e.g., ham and turkey slices) Deli meats that are cooked until steaming hot (74° C (165° F) or warmer)
Hot dogs Hot dogs cooked properly until steaming hot (74° C (165° F) or warmer) 
Refrigerated pates and meat spreads Canned pates and meat spreads that don’t need to be refrigerated until opened
Refrigerated smoked fish and seafood products (e.g., smoked salmon) Canned smoked fish and seafood products that don’t need to be refrigerated until opened
Raw and undercooked meat and fish (e.g., sushi, raw oysters, carpaccio) Properly cooked meats and fish (e.g., cooked whole chicken breast, roast pork or beef)
Raw egg, egg dishes with runny yolk or foods containing raw eggs as an ingredient (e.g., eggnog, tiramisu) Cooked eggs (until yolk is firm) and dishes containing cooked or pasteurized egg products
Unpasteurized cider Pasteurized cider
Raw sprouts (e.g., alfalfa, mung beans and clover) Sprouts cooked until steaming hot (74° C (165° F) or warmer)

Eating fish safely during your pregnancy

Fish are an important source of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids that are important for your baby’s brain development, but some kinds of fish contain higher amounts of mercury, a metal that can be harmful to the developing brain of your unborn child. It is recommended that consumption of :

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elderly person with care giver


As we age, it gets harder for our immune system to ward of harmful bacteria. While most people with food poisoning can recover completely, serious longer-term health effects are more common in older adults. That’s why it’s very important for older adults to take extra precaution when it comes to their food. To reduce the risk of food poisoning, be extra careful to follow these guidelines when preparing food.

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Food poisoning can have a serious impact on children because their immune systems are not fully developed. It can be more difficult for them to fight off disease and infections caused by contaminated food. To protect your child from food poisoning it’s very important to check and follow cooking instructions on packaged foods every time you prepare them. Make sure you do not give your child any of these foods:

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Existing Health Conditions

blood pressure testing

Some illnesses and chronic conditions as well as the treatments for them, can affect your immune system. This can make it more difficult to fight off harmful foodborne bacteria, leading to serious complications.

Some examples of conditions that can affect your immune system are:

If you are faced with any of these conditions, you should take extra special care when handling, storing, preparing and shopping for food. Follow these guidelines when preparing food to ensure your safety.

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For More Information

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