January 17, 2021

Research Finds Most Pregnant Women Don’t Know Listeria Risk in Food

Research conducted in New Zealand has found that 75% of pregnant women don’t know about the Listeria risk in some foods. Some foods can be at higher risk for contamination with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which poses a special risk to pregnant women.

Research Finds Most Pregnant Women Don't Know Listeria Risk in Food

Pregnant women are ten terms more likely than the general population to contract this infection. And this infection can cause stillbirth, premature labor, miscarriage, and infection in the newborn.

Researchers surveyed 205 pregnant women between December 2017 and January 2018. While the average woman got 95% of questions right, only 25% had a perfect score. The potentially problematic foods they missed included hummus, soft and semi soft cheeses, some salads, and baked goods with added cream or custard.

In the past few years, commercially made hummus has been recalled for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination dozens of times. Soft and semi-soft cheeses are on the list of foods that pregnant women can avoid, and those items have also been recalled for possible Listeria contamination.

Making matters worse, the symptoms of listeriosis in pregnant women are usually mild and seem like the flu. This can lead to a delay in the woman seeking treatment.

Other foods that pregnant women should avoid include deli meats and cheeses, unpasteurized milk and milk products, unpasteurized juices, and some refrigerated ready to eat foods such as pates. Undercooked and uncooked eggs and improperly prepared meats are also potentially problematic.

To protect yourself and your unborn child, it’s a good idea to get information about food safety from experts. The FDA has information about Listeria monocytogenes and food safety for moms to be.

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