Pregnancy and Food Safety
Food Borne Illness
Food poisoning or food contamination by bacteria or parasites can happen anytime but pregnant women and their unborn children are at high risk of illness. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. To protect your food and prevent illness, follow these steps for proper storage, handling and cooking food.
- Avoid eating raw meat, fish, poultry, eggs and unpasteurized food.
- Avoid soft cheeses and patés made from unpasteurized milk or cream.
- Don’t eat pre-cooked and ready-to-eat foods that are past their expiry dates.
- Store leftovers for only 24-72 hours (one to three days) in the refrigerator.
- Keep cold foods cold at 4°C (40°F).
- Keep hot foods hot at 60°C (140°F). Reheat to 70°C (165°F).
- Wash hands, work surfaces and utensils with hot soapy water, especially when working with raw foods.
- Fish low in mercury include canned “light” tuna and fresh and canned Pacific salmon.
- Use canned “light” tuna. Canned “white” (albacore) tuna is generally higher in mercury than canned “light” tuna.
- Avoid eating fresh or frozen predatory fish (tuna, shark, swordfish and some local Alberta fish). These fish have higher levels of mercury. Contact your local public health centre for more information.
- Listen for public health warnings about the possibility of wild game contamination in your area.