Food safety during pregnancy

Food safety during pregnancy

There are a number of food safety precautions that it is important for pregnant woman to take.



While food poisoning is common, and generally not harmful to your child unless you become dehydrated, a major food-related hazard for pregnant women and unborn babies is Listeria.



Listeria is a bacterium that can cause a food borne-infection called Listeriosis. Listeria infection is relatively uncommon and causes few symptoms in healthy people.

However, Listeriosis can be dangerous for pregnant women because In rare circumstances it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or make a newborn baby very ill.

Listeria bacteria are commonly found in nature, for example on plants, in soil and water and in animal faeces and can be transmitted to a range of commonly consumed foods.

The bacteria can multiply rapidly in food kept at room temperature, can grow in refrigerated food, and even survive freezing.

To minimise risk of Listeria infection during pregnancy take special care with kitchen hygiene, store and handle food safely and avoid certain high-risk foods.

Food handling

  • Thoroughly wash all raw fruit and vegetables.

  • Use separate chopping boards for preparing raw foods and ready-to-eat foods.

  • Refrigerate perishable foods promptly. Keep cold foods well chilled.

  • Keep cooked and raw foods separate and ensure that foods stored in the fridge are covered or wrapped to prevent cross contamination.

  • Cook foods until steaming hot (above 70ºC), especially if using the microwave.

  • Eat foods freshly cooked or promptly refrigerate and use with in 12 hours.

  • Before eating cooked foods that have been refrigerated, heat them thoroughly until piping hot.


During pregnancy avoid the following high-risk foods:

  • Raw fish or seafood

  • Store-bought sushi (all types, even without raw seafood)

  • Chilled, pre-cooked fish (eg. smoked fish), and seafood products, unless reheated thoroughly until steaming hot

  • Store-bought, pre-cooked meat and poultry products such as ready-made, packaged paté, cold, pre-cooked chicken, ham, salami or pastrami, unless heated until steaming hot

  • Store-bought or ready-made salads and coleslaws

  • Raw parsley

  • Unpasteurised milk

  • Store-bought (packaged), chilled custard, unless heated until steaming hot.

  • Raw eggs


About Eleanor Harris

Hi, there. It's my blog about nutritional solutions. I post the most helpful content in this topic ❤️ I got master degree 4 years ago at University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Now i work for Danone as Nutrition Executive

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