Nutrition · Pregnancy

Food safety in pregnancy

pregnant individual preparing a meal on the stove at home

During pregnancy, we often take extra steps to protect our growing baby. Preparing food safely should be one of these steps.

In pregnancy, our body’s ability to fight off bacteria changes and this increases our risk of getting food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness. Foodborne illnesses might not make us sick right away; sometimes it can take days before we start feeling sick. The greater concern is that your developing baby can have more serious health effects from food poisoning than yourself.

Key steps to stay food safe:

  1. Wash your hands often
    Our hands are in contact with many surfaces throughout the day. Keep your hands clean throughout the day. Remember to wash your hands before, during and after preparing food.
  2. Don’t cross contaminate your food
    Store and prepare raw meat/poultry/seafood away from cooked and other foods. If you can, use separate cutting boards for your raw meats/poultry/seafood.
  3. Ensure your meat/poultry/fish are fully cooked
    If possible, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  4. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot
    At room temperature, bacteria, viruses or parasites that cause food poisoning can grow very quickly. Contaminated foods may look, smell or taste the same so don’t rely on your senses alone!
  5. Thaw your foods safely
    Thawing foods on the kitchen counter is not safe. Place food in a container and either:

      • in the fridge to thaw overnight
      • use the ‘Defrost’ function on your microwave
      • run under cold water
  6. Reheat leftovers properly
    When reheating, ensure food comes to a rolling boil or thermometer reads 74°C (165°F).

If in doubt about a food item’s freshness, throw it out! It’s not worth the risk.

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