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BBQ safety in pregnancy

How to keep you and your baby bump healthy without missing out on the fun of barbecue season


Posted: 2 June 2011
by Kimberley Smith

BBQ
Eat safe this BBQ season

BBQ season is upon us again and while normally you’d be itching to get out on the lawn to scoff those sausages, when you’re pregnant there are a few things to remember.

Many BBQ rules for mums-to-be are the same as general food hygiene. But mums-to-be have lower immune systems and are more likely to pick up nasties from undercooked food.  Don’t be put off, just know what to look out for!

E. coli & Salmonella

These common food poisoning bugs are easily picked up when you’re pregnant. They won’t pass trough the placenta and infect your baby but they can cause dehydration and exhaustion, which is the last thing you need! They can be avoided by ensuring all cooked food is piping hot and cooked right through.

Listeriosis

This is a nasty bacteria pregnant women are susceptible to. It can cause stillbirth, miscarriage, or severe illness in newborn babies. You can protect yourself against it by avoiding high-risk foods like raw meat, rare steaks, and any unwashed salads and veg (a more comprehensive list is found here). It is also the main reason pregnant women are advised not to eat soft unpasturised cheeses like Brie and any kind of pâté.

Toxoplasmosis

This is another illness that can be avoided by staying away from high-risk foods and particularly raw meat. Caused by a microscopic parasite that can also be present in cat poo (yuck!), it can seriously affect an unborn baby although cases of it are very rare. This too can be avoided by following our BBQ rules.

Basic BBQ rules:

  • Leave the raw meat to someone else! And make sure they avoid cross-contamination by washing their hands every time they touch raw meat.
  • Keep raw and cooked meat separate and use different utensils for each
  • Make sure frozen meat is defrosted properly
  • Cook meat right through avoiding any pink and making sure it’s piping hot even in the centre.  You might like to pre-cook the meat in the oven first and transfer it to the BBQ at the last minute for taste.
  • Keep foods like salad, dips, milk, yogurt and desserts cool and avoid them if they’ve stood out in the sun for too long.
  • Cover up your food with plastic film or foil, or in airtight boxes which will prevent anything nibbling on your lettuce!

Remember, if you’re concerned about how the food has been stored, prepared or cooked, don’t eat it. Although BBQ food is quite safe during pregnancy, incorrect storage or prep can be high risk and you’re better off sticking to safer foods like potatoes, safe cheeses, pre-packed cooked meats and breads.

Finally, in the unlikely event you do fall ill, make sure you know what to do if you do. Happy grilling!

For safe, non-alcoholic cocktails to perfect your BBQ, check out our scrummy recipes.


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listeriosis, e.coli, salmonella, toxoplasmosis, barbecue pregnant, well cooked food, bloody meat, safety, rules for pregnant women
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