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Safe eating in warmer weather

As the days get a little warmer, being food-aware in especially important to stave off poisoning or sickness in pregnancy.

Posted: 5 June 2007
by Laura Lee Davies

In warm weather, it is especially important to keep food that should be hot hot, and food that should be chilled cold!

Bacteria and parasites can be present in some foods you might be unlucky enough to purchase before they've even reached your front door. Prime candidates are prepared chilled ready meals and side salads like coleslaw which sit on supermarket shelves. Avoid any of these which don't need cooking, and make sure you heat them thoroughly if they do need cooking. Obviously salads like coleslaw are supposed to be eaten straight, so avoid these. Also items which might contain raw or undercooked egg (like posh mayonnaise) and unpasteurised dairy products like soft cheeses should always be avoided during pregnancy.

However, other foods which are quite safe usually, might set off stomach illness which can at least cause you great discomfort and at worst harm you and your baby.

Use your fridge!
Do not leave foods out of the fridge for more than 20 minutes when the air is warmer. If you are going to freeze food you have cooked, make sure you freeze it as soon as it is cool. Even things like cream need to be chilled and not allowed to warm up on the kitchen counter.

The big thaw
If you are using something from the freezer which needs to be defrosted, do this in a microwave with a defrost setting or plan ahead and thaw it in the fridge. Do NOT let it defrost at room temperature.

Raw meat and fish
Store raw meat and fish away from other food in your fridge and when preparing these, use a non-porous surface like a glass or marble chopping board rather than a wooden one. Also make sure you then use another knife for cutting vegetables or fruit which aren't going to be cooked.

Barbecues are popular every summer but these are a real breeding ground for bacteria as salads and meat are often left outside for some time before being cooked or eaten.
Salmonella is a common problem with chicken. Whether it's cooked on a barbecue or in a regular oven, make sure there is not dark pink flesh or blood evident when you're ready to eat it. The juices should run clear when it is cooked. It's a good idea to part-cook the chicken in the oven first, but make sure you do this just before taking it to the barbecue rather than leaving it stand half-cooked for too long and letting in cool down. That will only make the bacteria spread more quickly.
Meats which have been processed, like sausages or burgers, should never be eaten rare (by a pregnant woman or anyone else!) and beef can be a risk from e-coli so make sure it is well cooked.
On a barbecue, make sure you have prepared it hours in advance as this way it will be really hot and the flames won't just burn the outside without cooking the food through.

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Discuss this story

Just found out i'm pregnant, but i'm going to Tunisia in 2 wks to stay in an all inclusive hotel. I'm really starting to worry about the food that's going to be provided. Any ideas to eating safely?

Posted: 05/06/2007 at 21:15

Hi make sure you only drink bottled water and no juice with ice. No seafood such as prawns, mussles ect. Eat cook veg, salads would be washed in tap water so not very good idea. Any meat has to be well done. So aint to much you can have! Pasta, cous cous rice and veg are the best things to stick with. Congrates and njoy your hols..
Tracey and bump 32wks xxx

Posted: 06/06/2007 at 11:49

Thanks for that, i've bought some multi vitamins, nuts and apricots to take!! Starting to get used to the idea of not been able to eat a great variety! X

Posted: 09/06/2007 at 20:29

hello katie,
i am 27 years old and twenty weeks pregnant right now and will be going on holiday around my twenty eighth week.from the very begining of my pregnancy i didn't made fussy choices when it comes to food and to be truthful you don't need to can eat almost everything except undercooked shellfish and seafood(check and make it sure they are properly cooked heated all the way through),soft cheeses without molds and fungal developments(avoid unpatuarised blue veined cheeses like stilton etc)as they can cause listeria infection.try not to eat too much of tuna fish as it contains high level of mercury chemicals which can cause birth defects,limit yourself to a medium can of tuna or a steak per weak.pate is something you should not be touching either its made freshly in front of you and you are going to eat all of it in twenty four hours time since as the time progresses it starts getting prone to develop bacteria.more or less this is all you need to remember.i reckon you are going to a good hotel and in that case it will be quite safe on all food matters and preparations.the other things like don't stay out in the sun for long and drink at least four liters of plain water a day since you need more fluid in your body during pregnancy.fresh fruits and fruit salads,plain sour fresh yoghurt and yoghurt based items,pasturised milk and milk products plus cottage cheese are very good for you.if you don't like normal milk try to find soya milk which has got more nutrition in it.all types of vegetables cooked and raw(properly washed)will be excellent for you.try not to drink too much fizzy sugary drinks and strong coffee and alternate it with herbal teas and green tea contains a whole lot of antioxidant in it and try freshly made fruit juices all day round.always take a multivitamin plus mineral and trace elements capsule during all this time and all the way through and make sure you are consuming enough iron and taking meat and spinach should do the trick for you.
well i could go on but i think i made it quite clear by now that you need a vital dose of sunshine,plenty of fluid,rest and relaxation and a good balanced diet minus too much of alcohol and smoke and stress free.
hope you enjoy your holiday sensibly and stay healthy.
best of luck and congrats,

Posted: 25/07/2007 at 16:01

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