Food safety tips for pregnant women
Pregnant women are considered an at-risk group when it comes to food-borne illnesses. Medical professionals recommend that women avoid certain foods to minimise the risk of associated health risks for both the mother and newborn, such as miscarriage or premature delivery during pregnancy.
Commercial kitchens and businesses responsible for serving food including restaurant or catering businesses, can assist in the difficult task of identifying safe-to-eat foods for pregnant women.
Kitchen staff should first learn about what types of foods cannot be consumed by pregnant women. The following list encompasses the wide range of foods that can cause serious health issues.
- Unpasteurised dairy
- Raw or seared seafood
- Rare or undercooked meat
- Deli meat (such as ham or salami)
- Raw eggs
- High-mercury fish (such as swordfish, king mackerel, or marlin)
- Raw sprouts (such as alfalfa)
These foods present the highest risk for pregnant women due to their proclivity to house harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.
Outside of these foods, other common substances associated with risk throughout pregnancy include caffeine and alcohol due to associated complications such as miscarriage and foetal alcohol syndrome.
The most efficient method of identifying potentially dangerous foods is implementing a labelling system that pinpoints the risk. Fildes Food Safety offers a range of Food Advisory Labels that easily identify items that contain or withhold certain ingredients such as eggs, dairy, or seafood.
Outside of the kitchen, an effective labelling process on ready-to-purchase items such as sandwiches and wraps can assist pregnant customers in making informed decisions. Likewise, restaurants can offer detailed dietary information on menus to help take the guesswork out of picking a meal and allow the customer to feel confident in the kitchen's ability to provide a safe meal.
A great food business will understand the importance of ensuring that pregnant women minimise their risk of contracting food poisoning. Often, restaurant managers can practically implement this understanding into kitchen and floor processes, such as being knowledgeable of the menu and accommodating of special requests. Likewise, kitchen staff must take care when preparing meals by following all order instructions, such as cooking meat or eggs well done.