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Noticed food contaminated with blood of the chef in a restaurant. Worried about blood borne diseases?

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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16765 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 in General Health
Question: Just ate at a Japanese restaurant and noticed the chef was wiping his hand a bunch. Turns out he'd cut his hand while cooking and potentially contaminated the food we'd eaten with his blood. Do we need to worry that we've contracted any bloodborne diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis as a result of this?
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

It is very understandable to be concerned.

HIV does not survive well in the environment. Laboratory studies have shown that it is inactivated by heat (temperatures over 60 c) though not by a cold environment.
It is also extremely to acid and alkaline environment and sensitive to exposure to air.
The sensitivity to acid means that it could not survive in the acidic environment in the stomach
The CDC note that there has never been any documented cases of transmission from food and conclude that there is no risk.

Based on the medical studies that have been conducted, it is extremely unlikely (and not known to occur before) that HIV would have been transmitted.

IN terms of hepatitis- there are different hepatitis viruses: hepatitis A, B, C, D,E.

The most common known are hepatitis A, C and B.

Hepatitis A can be spread through the fecal oral route to cause gastrointestinal symptoms. This means it is spread from contact with infected feces to food.
It is not thought to be spread by blood.

Hepatitis B and C are transmitted from mother to child, iv drug users or infected blood transfusion, sexual contact, direct blood to blood contact.

At present there is no known risk for transmission of these viruses via food.

I hope this eases some of your fears

Please feel free to ask any other questions

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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