Fact Sheet (81/2" x 11")

Share useful information on safe food handling for pregnant women with the help of this fact sheet. It includes food safety tips as well as a list of foods to avoid and safe alternatives.

Safe Food Handling for Pregnant Women

You and your baby are at higher risk of food poisoning and related complications. While most people affected by food poisoning can completely recover, you and your baby are at greater risk for serious health complications, including miscarriage.

Protect yourself and your baby by following simple, yet effective, steps when handling, storing, preparing and shopping for food.

Make sure to always separate your raw foods, such as meat and eggs, from cooked foods, fruit, and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.

Always refrigerate food and leftovers within two hours. Set the internal temperature of the refrigerator at 4°C (40°F) or below, and use an appliance thermometer to monitor it.

Wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, utensils, and reusable shopping bags often with warm, soapy water to eliminate bacteria.

Always cook food to the safe internal temperatures, using a digital food thermometer.

Select the safer alternatives

Consumption of certain high-risk foods should also be avoided.
Type of Food Foods to Avoid Safer Alternatives
Deli meats Non-dried deli meats such as bologna, roast beef and turkey breast. Dried and salted deli meats such as salami and pepperoni. Non-dried deli meats heated throughout to steaming hot.
Dairy products Raw or unpasteurized dairy products, including pasteurized soft and semi-soft cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert and blue-veined cheeses Pasteurized dairy products except pasteurized soft and semi-soft cheeses.
Hot Dogs Hot dogs straight from the package without further heating. Hot dogs thoroughly cooked to a safe internal temperature. The middle of the hot dog should be steaming hot or 74°C (165°F).
Pâtés and meat spreads Refrigerated pâtés and meat spreads. Pâtés and meat spreads sold in cans or those that do not require refrigeration until after opening.
Eggs and egg products Raw or lightly cooked eggs or egg products, including salad dressings, cookie dough or cake batter, sauces and drinks such as homemade eggnog. Egg dishes thoroughly cooked to a safe internal temperature. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm. Homemade eggnog must be heated to 71°C (160°F).
Seafood Raw oysters, clams and mussels.
Raw seafood such as sushi.
Refrigerated smoked seafood.
Cook until the shell has opened.Seafood cooked to a safe internal temperature of 74°C (165°F).
Smoked seafood in cans that do not require refrigeration until after opening.
Meat and poultry Raw or undercooked meat or poultry such as steak tartare. Meat and poultry cooked to a safe internal temperature.
Fruit juice and cider Unpasteurized fruit juice and cider. Unpasteurized fruit juice and cider brought to a roll­ing boil and cooled. Pasteurized fruit juice and cider.
Sprouts Raw sprouts such as alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean. Thoroughly cooked sprouts.

Learn more and get your free Safe Food Handling for Pregnant Women guide on HealthyCanadians.gc.ca/foodsafety or call 1 800 O-Canada.

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