Eating Out in Spring!
Many of your springtime celebrations may take place in restaurants. To keep your baby safe, it's important to be aware of risky foods that might be on the menu. Here's a list of foods you should avoid and why.
Caesar salad dressing, custards, and sauces that are made with raw (uncooked) eggs
Why? Harmful bacteria can be found in raw or undercooked eggs.
Raw or undercooked fish (such as sushi or sashimi) or foods made with raw fish
Why? Raw fish is more likely to contain parasites or bacteria than cooked fish.
Swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark
Why? These fish can contain high levels of methylmercury, a metal that can be harmful to your unborn baby. It's okay to eat other cooked fish/seafood as long as a variety of other kinds are selected during pregnancy or while a woman is trying to become pregnant. She can eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week. For more information, see Methylmercury.
Sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean)
Why? Bacteria can get into the sprout seeds through cracks in the shell before the sprouts are grown. Once this occurs, these bacteria are nearly impossible to wash out. And, thoroughly cooking sprouts doesn't guarantee that you've gotten rid of harmful bacteria.
Juices by the glass
Why? Juices that are fresh-squeezed and sold by the glass at some juice bars, for example, may not be pasteurized or otherwise treated to ensure their safety. Warning labels are not required on these products. Pregnant women and young children should avoid these juices.
Listeria, a bacterium that can be particularly harmful to you and your unborn baby, can be found in ready-to-eat, perishable foods (dairy, meat, poultry, and seafood). To prevent foodborne illness:
- Use ready-to-eat, perishable foods as soon as possible.
- Clean the refrigerator regularly.
- Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure that the refrigerator always stays at 40° F (4° C) or below.
- Select foods carefully.
For a list of foods you shouldn't eat, see Listeria.