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- With an uptick in news about food-poisoning outbreaks, pregnant women need to be aware of which foods carry certain risks.
- Foodborne illnesses such as listeria can be riskier for pregnant women and their unborn children than the average person.
- Food-poisoning expert Bill Marler advises people to avoid foods including sprouts, raw eggs, and pre-cut fruits and vegetables while pregnant.
Food-poisoning outbreaks seem to be sweeping the United States this year. And, with news of outbreaks on the rise, expectant mothers need to be especially careful.
While foodborne illnesses are rarely pleasant, certain types can hit pregnant people and newborns especially hard. According to food-poisoning expert Bill Marler, listeria should be a top concern for any expectant mother.
“Listeria illnesses in moms pass to the baby in uterus and can kill or damage the baby,” Marler, who is an attorney specializing in foodborne-illness cases, told Business Insider.
More than 200 people died in a listeria outbreak stemming from a meat-production plant in Polokwane, South Africa, earlier this year. Newborns were the most likely to be impacted by the outbreak, with 91 babies under the age of 28 days old dying as a result of listeriosis.
To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, pregnant women should avoid eating certain foods, according to Marler. Here’s what the food-poisoning expert says to cut from your diet, according to a list Marler wrote for Food Safety News and shared in conversations with Business Insider.
Raw or undercooked meat
Rare meat is one of a number of things that Marler himself doesn’t eat and advises against pregnant women consuming. If meat isn’t cooked to 160 degrees, he says, bacteria can thrive and cause E. coli or Salmonella poisoning.
Imported soft cheeses like brie and feta
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Listeria concerns mean that pregnant women shouldn’t consume cheeses including brie, Camembert, Roquefort, feta, and Gorgonzola.
Prewashed and precut fruits and vegetables
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Precut and prewashed fruits and veggies have caused a number of issues already in 2018. McDonald’s salads were linked to a parasitic illness outbreak that sickened more than 390 people, and an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickened at least 197 and killed five people.
“Not every lettuce leaf in the field is contaminated with E. coli, but some of them are,” Marler said earlier this year regarding the risks of prewashed, bagged lettuce. “And when you mix and match it at a processing facility and chop it up, you get what you get.”
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