Although foodborne illnesses can affect everyone, pregnant women are more susceptible to certain foodborne bacteria and they can be serious for both a pregnant woman and her baby. Proper food handling and avoiding certain foods can help decrease the risk of foodborne illness during pregnancy.
Recommendations for pregnant women include:
- avoid raw/under-cooked meat & fish including sushi and raw oysters
- avoid unpasteurized milk or milk products, soft cheeses (feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, Mexican queso fresco), deli foods, deli meats (cold cuts, salami, prosciutto etc.) pâté, refrigerated smoked seafood
- avoid raw or runny eggs or foods made with raw eggs such as eggnog, Caesar salad dressing, homemade ice cream & raw cookie dough
- avoid unpasteurized juice
- avoid raw sprouts (alfalfa, clover, mung bean etc.)
- reheat leftovers, cold cuts and hotdogs until steaming hot
- frequent hand washing before food preparation (especially after caring for child, changing diapers),wash fruits and vegetables
- clean and disinfect all food surfaces after food handling
- avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, tuna steaks due to high levels of mercury (other fish, including canned tuna can be eaten in moderation: about 1-2 meals per week)
For more information see:
A helpful brochure from Government of Canada (see safe food handling for pregnant women) . You can also see all current food recalls at this site.