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Food Hygiene advice for patients discharged following CAR T Cell Therapy

Patient information A-Z

Tel No: 01223 216 655

Although you may no longer be neutropenic (low neutrophil count) after your treatment, your immune system still takes time to recover fully. During this time you may be more vulnerable to infection. The following guidelines will help to reduce the risk of infection and subsequent food poisoning from harmful bacteria.


  • Avoid buying foods with damaged packaging or dented tins.
  • Avoid shops where cooked and raw meat is not separated.
  • Buy meat and fish from shelves and cabinets that look clean and are not overloaded.
  • Try to buy chilled and frozen foods at the end of you shopping. Get them home and stored in the fridge or freezer as quickly as possible.
  • Always eat food within the 'Use By' or 'Best Before' date.


  • Ensure the temperature of your fridge is between 0 and 5°C and your freezer is below -18°C.
  • Raw meat and defrosting food should be stored in covered dishes or containers -which catch drips.
  • Raw foods should be stored separately from cooked foods.
  • Store cooked foods at the top of the fridge and raw foods at the bottom.
  • Cover all food in the fridge.
  • Never re-freeze thawed food.
  • Do not overload the fridge or freezer as this will increase the temperature.
  • Eggs should be stored in the fridge.

Food preparation

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water.
  • Cover all cuts and grazes.
  • Keep pets out of the kitchen.
  • Bleach, disinfect or change kitchen cloths often. Disinfect worktops often especially when raw meat or poultry has been prepared.
  • Wash and dry utensils and chopping boards between preparing raw and cooked food to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Wash all fresh fruit and vegetables before preparation.
  • Wipe cans before opening them.


  • Cook meat, poultry, shellfish and eggs thoroughly.
  • Processed meat products like burgers and sausages should be cooked until the meat juices run clear.
  • Follow manufacturers' guidelines. Cooking times on food labels and in cookery books should not be shortened. Always pre-heat the oven.
  • Thaw meat and poultry thoroughly in the fridge and not at room temperature.
  • Do not re-heat foods more than once.
  • Always heat until food is piping hot.
  • If using a microwave, follow the instructions on cooking and standing times. Know the power rating of your microwave.

Eating away from home

  • When eating out or having a take-away, always ensure food is well cooked and piping hot. Ask them to cook it fresh, not from the hotplate
  • Eat from reputable establishments.
  • Avoid food sold from street vendors, market places, salad bars, delicatessen and ice-cream vans.

Unsuitable foods

Food Avoid Alternatives
Food Cheeses Avoid Soft
and ripened cheeses for example Brie, Camembert,  Feta
cheeses for example Stilton, Danish Blue
Alternatives Hard
cheeses - cooked or individually wrapped, for example, Cheddar, Red
Leicester.  Cut off any visible rind.
cheeses - for example Philadelphia, Dairylea and Kraft Singles, Cottage Cheese.
Food Meats and fish Avoid Raw
fish for example sushi.
Raw or lightly
cooked shellfish
Rare meats, for example
steak tartare, pate.
or fish from delicatessen, smoked items e.g. salmon, parma ham and salami.
Alternatives Well-cooked
fresh, frozen, tinned fish and meat.
shellfish e.g. prawn curry
bottled pate, paste.
made cook/freeze, cook/chill meals. 
Always follow manufacturers’ instructions
Food Eggs Avoid Raw
or cracked eggs
containing raw or undercooked eggs, for example homemade mayonnaise, mousse,
Hollandaise sauce, egg nog or meringue.
Alternatives Well-cooked
boiled egg, scrambled.
omelette - well cooked.
bought mayonnaise in tin/jar (not 'deli' style).
Food Dairy Products Avoid All
unpasteurised dairy products
and probiotic yoghurts and drinks
Alternatives Pasteurised
milk, cheeses and yoghurts including live ones.
Food Miscellaneous Avoid Homemade beer and
Alternatives Bottled
beer and wine

High Sugar Foods

As part of your treatment you may be required to avoid high sugar foods - your medical team or dietitian will be able to advise you on foods to avoid.

You can reduce sugar in the diet by:

  • Using artificial sweeteners such as Canderel, Nutrasweet, Hermesetas, and Sweetex in place of sugar.
  • Choose tinned fruit in natural juice, fresh fruit, and stewed/baked fruit (sweetened with artificial sweetener) rather than tinned fruit in syrup.
  • Try sugar-free squash and diet fizzy drinks instead of sugar containing squash and normal fizzy drinks.
  • Try non-sugar coated breakfast cereals, for example Weetabix, Branflakes, Shredded Wheat and porridge rather than cereals such as Sugar Puffs, Frosties and Coco Pops.
  • Try puddings sweetened with sweeteners rather than sugar for example, milk pudding, custard, instant dessert.
  • Replace sweets and mints with sugar-free sweets/mints. These should be eaten in moderation as sorbitol (the sweetener) might cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities.

Privacy & dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and/or specialist one to one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151