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World Health Day 2016 – Beat Diabetes

April 7 is World Health Day and the World Health Organization (WHO) set Beat Diabetes as the theme for this year. WHO points out that about 350 million people worldwide have diabetes, a number likely to more than double in the next 20 years. While foodborne illness, often called food poisoning, can be very stressful and potentially serious for anyone, it‘s especially dangerous for people with diabetes. Here’s why:

  • A healthy immune system can fight off harmful bacteria and other pathogens that cause infection. With diabetes, the immune system may not readily recognize harmful pathogens. This delay in the body’s natural response to foreign invasion places a person with diabetes at increased risk for food poisoning.
  • Diabetes can damage the cells and the nerves that help the stomach and intestinal tract move food through the body. As a result, the stomach may hold on to food for a longer period of time, allowing harmful bacteria and other pathogens to grow.
  • The kidneys, which work to cleanse the body, may not be functioning properly in people with diabetes and can hold on to harmful bacteria, toxins, and other pathogens.
  • Having diabetes can make people more susceptible to developing infections – like the infections that are brought on by disease-causing pathogens in food.

If people with diabetes contract a foodborne illness, they are more likely to have a lengthier illness, undergo hospitalization, or even die. See FDA’s guide on Food Safety for People with Diabetes (PDF) to help people with diabetes avoid the higher risk foods that can cause foodborne illness.

Even low-risk foods require safe handling, cooking, and storage. For more information see Keep Food Safe on this site or Food Safety for People with Diabetes on FDA’s web site.


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Posted in: At-RiskTagged: Food Safety