With the holiday season upon us, it’s important to protect yourself against harmful germs and bacteria in the kitchen. Even during the holidays, it’s necessary to avoid potentially harmful foods, as you should throughout the year. Below are a few reminders of common foods served during the holidays that you should avoid while pregnant.
Turkey and stuffing
If you’re planning to cook stuffing inside the turkey, think again. Cooking stuffing within the cavity of the turkey doesn’t heat it enough to kill off harmful bacteria. Instead, cook your stuffing in a separate pan than the turkey. Both the stuffing and turkey should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unpasteurized soft cheeses or spreads
During the holidays, unpasteurized soft cheeses are common in appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. Cheeses like panela, cotija, queso fresco, blue and gorgonzola, brie, feta and camembert are all made with unpasteurized milk, which can contain harmful bacteria called listeria monocytogenes.
Homemade eggnog is usually made with raw, unpasteurized eggs and alcohol, making this a hugely unsafe choice during the holidays. It’s best to try a virgin version using a store-bought brand, but be sure it’s made with eggs that are pasteurized.
Though most fruitcakes made with alcohol are safe because the alcohol will burn off in the cooking process, some recipes call for the fruitcake to be soaked with liquor after baking. Be sure to check how the cake was prepared before digging in.
Pregnant women should be especially careful when it comes to leftovers this holiday season. Any food that has been left out for more than two hours poses a risk to you and your baby. Be sure to store and refrigerate any perishable foods before they become unsafe for consumption.
With these tips it’s easy to still enjoy yourself during the holiday season. Remember to ask before you eat, wash your hands frequently when preparing meals, and be sure to thoroughly clean any surface that has come in contact with raw meat or eggs before using it again.
For more information on pregnancy safety, or to schedule an appointment, call High Risk Pregnancy Center today at (702) 382-3200.