In addition to cardiovascular disease and kidney problems, diabetes also affects the immune system. These affects leave diabetes patients more prone to infectious disease, such as foodborne illness. A diabetic patient’s immune system may not immediately recognize harmful foodborne pathogens increasing a person’s risk for infection.
High glucose levels suppress the function of white blood cells that fight off infection, increasing one’s risk of contracting a foodborne illness. If someone with diabetes contracts a foodborne illness, their blood glucose levels may be affected because the illness impacts what and how much the person can eat.
Gastrointestinal Tract (GI)
Diabetes may cause the stomach to produce low amounts of digestive acid. In addition, nerves may not move food through the GI tract as quickly as in non-diabetic persons. When the stomach holds on to food longer than necessary, bacteria start to multiply. If the amount of unhealthy bacteria in the stomach gets too high, it can lead to foodborne illness.
Kidneys usually work to cleanse the body. For many diabetes patients, their kidneys may not function properly, giving unhealthy bacteria the opportunity to grow out of control.
What You Can Do
Learn about safety tips for those at increased risk of foodborne illness. Those living with diabetes should always follow the four steps:
Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often
Separate: Separate raw meat and poultry from ready-to-eat foods
Cook: Cook food to the right temperatures
Chill: Chill raw meat and poultry as well as cooked leftovers promptly (within 2 hours)
If you or someone you care for receives prepared meals, visit our home delivered meals page for information on how to keep these safe.
Download our FoodKeeper application to make sure you are storing food and beverages properly, and using them within recommended storage guidelines.
- Food Safety for People with Diabetes (FDA)
A need-to-know guide for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes.