It is easier for pregnant women to get food-borne diseases. To help you have a healthy pregnancy, we look at a food safety guide for pregnant women that will help you choose foods that will keep both you and your baby safe and healthy during pregnancy.
· Clean and disinfect all surfaces before and after handling food, especially raw food. Use a kitchen sanitizer or a bleach solution and rinse thoroughly with water. Washing your hands and kitchen surfaces help prevent bacteria from spreading to your food.
· Also, wash and disinfect the refrigerator as often as possible to reduce any chances of harmful bacteria spreading from one food group to another.
· When handling raw fish, meats, shellfish, poultry, fish, and eggs, first wash your hands with hot, soapy water for about 15 minutes before and after preparation.
· Thoroughly cook fish, shellfish, meat, and poultry. Use a food thermometer to check that they are fully cooked. See a list of cooking temperatures to ensure food safety.
· Defrost frozen foods in cold weather or in a microwave. Avoid defrosting refrigerated foods at room temperature.
· Avoid raw fish such as sushi, oysters, sashimi, mussels, and clams
· Wash all raw fruits and vegetables with clean, running water before consumption
· Avoid raw or undercooked eggs and egg by-products. Always cook both the white and yolk thoroughly; the same applies to egg dishes. If a recipe requires raw eggs, opt for pasteurized egg products instead
· Thoroughly cook sprouts like clover, alfalfa, mung bean, and radish. Pregnant should never eat sprouts unless they are prepared to steaming hot because they can be contaminated with bacteria
· Do not drink unpasteurized cider or fruit juice
· Separate cooked foods and raw foods to prevent cross-contamination. Clean cutting boards, knives, and utensils before and after use
· Keep cold food cold at 4 degrees C or below and hot food hot at 60 degrees C or above. We recommend setting your fridge to 4 degrees C or lower
· Put all prepared food, perishables, and leftovers into the freezer or refrigerated within two hours
· Keep leftovers preferably for 2-3 days, and no more than four days in the fridge, always reheat food leftovers all the way through steaming
Parasite and Bacteria to Lookout for During Pregnancy
Mercury in Fish
Fish is crucial for the baby’s brain development because of its an excellent source of omega-3 fats. However, fish rich in mercury can be harmful to the baby’s growing brain. Pregnant women should choose fish low in mercury.
Listeria is a bacteria that causes severe food-borne illnesses in pregnant women. Listeria can be harmful to the growing baby.
Refrigerated ready-to-eat foods like soft cheeses, deli meats, hot dogs, and pates are at risk of listeria contamination. To reduce chances of food-borne illness from this bacteria avoid:
· Unpasteurized cheese
· Unpasteurized cider and fruit juices
· Unpasteurized dairy products
· Pre-packaged or prepared vegetable and fruit salads
· Raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, meat, and seafood
Avoid these foods as well unless they’re cooked to steaming hot:
· Raw sprouts and prepared or pre-packed vegetable and fruit salads
· Pasteurized soft and semi-soft cheeses like Camembert, feta, brie, and chevre
· Pasteurized Hispanic-style fresh cheeses like queso fresco, queso blanco, and queso panela
· Pasteurized blue-veined cheeses like Roquefort, Danish blue, and Gorgonzola
· Ready-eat deli meats and ready-to-eat meals
· Refrigerated meat spreads, pates, and smoked seafood
Safer choices for pregnant women include:
· Hard cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan, Colby, and Swiss
· Processed cheese spreads and slices
· Cottage cheese
· Cream cheese
· Yogurt made from pasteurized milk
Avoiding these foods and incorporating safe food handling when pregnant will protect you and your unborn baby from foodborne diseases.
To learn more, visit www.childmode.com