Skip to main content

Patient Education

Foods to Choose Chart

Don’t Let Your Food Make You Sick:
Food Safety Tips for Those at Increased Risk of Food-borne Illness
Download the PDF Version PDF Icon (406 KB)




Fruits and vegetables

  • Pasteurized juices
  • Fresh fruits/vegetables with no bruises, cuts, or mold
  • Frozen fruits/vegetables (except berries)
  • Cooked, pasteurized, or canned berries
  • Cooked vegetable or bean sprouts
  • Cooked or canned fruits or vegetables
  • Well-scrubbed produce
    Use a vegetable brush for rough surfaces like melon skins
  • Produce washed right before consuming (to reduce risk of mold)
  • Pre-washed, bagged greens that are well-refrigerated, consumed before the expiration date, and free of off odors and wilted leaves
  • Unpasteurized juices
  • Pre-cut, damaged or loose pieces of fruit (such as grapes off the stem)
  • All raw and frozen berries (they are hard to clean and get moldy quickly)
  • All raw vegetable sprouts and bean sprouts
    Avoid when eating out:
  • Buffet-style salad bars
  • Deli salads such as fruit, potato, egg or pasta salad made with raw fruit or vegetables
  • Salsas (unless pasteurized)
  • Raw fruits or vegetables (since you can’t be sure of safe food handling)
  • Baked potatoes wrapped in foil–unless served very hot, right after being cooked
  • Potatoes baked in foil that are not eaten immediately should be removed from the foil and stored in the refrigerator


  • Commercially packaged nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew, soy)
  • Commercially packaged, roasted nuts
  • Almonds (all types are pasteurized now)
  • Freshly ground nut butters
  • Nuts in the shell (because of mold risk)
  • Unroasted nuts sold in bulk from bins

Meat, fish, poultry, soy

  • Pasteurized or boiled tofu
  • Meats cooked to these temperatures:
    (Insert thermometer into thickest part.)
  • Poultry 165° F
  • Ground meat (like hamburger) 160° F
  • Steaks and roasts 145° F
  • Egg dishes 160° F
  • Fish and Shellfish 145° F (firm opaque flesh, flakes easily)
  • Luncheon meats heated to 165° F
  • Well-done meat, cooked to order, served hot
  • Uncooked tofu (unless pasteurized )
  • Miso, tempeh and/or other fermented soy product
  • Raw or undercooked meat or fish, including: smoked salmon (lox), sushi, raw oysters, "Ahi" Tuna, sashimi (raw fish)
    When eating out avoid:
  • Meat prepared:
  • Luncheon meats (unless heated to 165° F)
  • Items kept warm under heat lamps

Milk, cheese, yogurt

  • Pasteurized milk
  • Cheese made from pasteurized milk
  • Yogurt made from pasteurized milk
  • Raw milk or yogurt made with raw milk
  • Cheese made from raw milk
  • Cheese with herbs or other added ingredients (dill, peppers)
  • Cheese with mold (such as blue cheese)
  • Unpasteurized cheese
    (Look for pasteurized versions of cheeses such as feta, brie.)


  • Well-cooked eggs (hard-boiled, scrambled)
  • Pasteurized shell eggs (sold in cartons next to regular eggs; can be used to safely prepare softer-style eggs)
  • Pasteurized liquid egg products (such as low cholesterol eggs, egg whites)
  • Eggs “over easy,” soft poached, soft boiled or “sunny side up”(unless pasteurized shell eggs are used)
  • Raw eggs or products made with raw eggs such as salad dressings, protein shakes and raw dough. Use pasteurized egg products for these foods instead.

Back to Support, Self-Care and Symptom Management

NOTE: PDF documents require the free Adobe Reader.

NOTE: PDF documents require the free Adobe Reader.

This page last updated on 04/27/2018

You are now leaving the NIH Clinical Center website.

This external link is provided for your convenience to offer additional information. The NIH Clinical Center is not responsible for the availability, content or accuracy of this external site.

The NIH Clinical Center does not endorse, authorize or guarantee the sponsors, information, products or services described or offered at this external site. You will be subject to the destination site’s privacy policy if you follow this link.

More information about the NIH Clinical Center Privacy and Disclaimer policy is available at