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Listeria and Pregnancy

on 04/25/2015

Listeria has been in the news lately due to an outbreak related to contaminated ice cream. Most listeria infections are due to eating contaminated foods. Listeriosis can be passed to the unborn baby through the placenta resulting in premature births, stillbirth, miscarriage or serious health problems for the newborn. A pregnant woman infected by listeria may not experience symptoms.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provide the following advice for pregnant women:

  • Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
  • Avoid getting fluid from hot dog packages on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces, and wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats.
  • Do not eat soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, and Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, or Mexican-style cheeses such asqueso blanco,queso fresco, andPanela, unless they have labels that clearly state they are made from pasteurized milk.
    • It is safe to eat hard cheeses, semi-soft cheeses such as mozzarella, pasteurized processed cheese slices and spreads, cream cheese, and cottage cheese.
  • Do not eat refrigerated pâté or meat spreads.
    • It is safe to eat canned or shelf-stable pâté and meat spreads.
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood unless it is an ingredient in a cooked dish such as a casserole. Examples of refrigerated smoked seafood include salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, and mackerel which are most often labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky.” This fish is found in the refrigerated section or sold at deli counters of grocery stores anddelicatessens.
    • It is safe to eat canned fish such as salmon and tuna or shelf-stable smoked seafood.
  • Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk or eat foods that contain unpasteurized milk.
  • Use all refrigerated perishable items that are precooked or ready-to-eat as soon as possible.
  • Clean your refrigerator regularly.
  • Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure that the refrigerator always stays at 40 °F or below.

The links take you to information on contaminated products as well as food safety:

http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/home

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