Higher-Risk Foods

Some foods are riskier for pregnant women to eat because of how they are made and the conditions in which they are stored. Some foods have been linked to foodborne illness in Canada. Some are only safe to eat when they are fully cooked, while others should be avoided if you face a higher risk of getting sick:

Don’t Eat These Foods Why What to Do
Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, including Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, queso blanco, and queso fresco May contain E. coli or Listeria monocytogenes. Eat hard cheeses, such as Cheddar or Swiss. Check the label to make sure that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk.
Raw cookie dough or cake batter May contain Salmonella. Bake the cookies and cake. Don’t lick the spoon!
Certain kinds of fish, like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (golden or white snapper) Contains high levels of mercury. Eat up to 12 ounces a week of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury, such as shrimp, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Limit albacore tuna to 6 ounces per week.
Raw or undercooked fish (sushi) May contain parasites or bacteria. Cook fish to 63° C.
Raw shellfish, such as oysters and clams May contain Vibrio bacteria. Cook shellfish to 63° C.
Unpasteurized juice or cider (including fresh squeezed) May contain E. coli. Drink pasteurized juice. Bring unpasteurized juice or cider to a rolling boil and boil for at least one minute before drinking.
Unpasteurized milk May contain bacteria such as Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, or Salmonella. Drink pasteurized milk.
Ham, chicken, and seafood salads made in store. May contain Listeria monocytogenes. Make salads at home, following the food safety basics in this guide.
Raw or undercooked alfalfa, clover, mung bean, and radish sprouts. May contain E. coli or Salmonella. Cook sprouts thoroughly.
Be Careful with These Foods Why What to Do
Hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented or dry sausage, and other deli-style meat and poultry May contain Listeria monocytogenes. Even if the label says the meat is precooked, reheat to steaming hot or 74° C before eating.
Eggs and pasteurized egg products Undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella. Cook eggs until yolks are firm. Cook casseroles and other dishes containing eggs or egg products to 72° C.
Eggnog Uncooked eggs in homemade eggnog may contain Salmonella. Make eggnog with a pasteurized egg product or buy pasteurized eggnog. When you make eggnog or other egg-fortified beverages, cook to 72° C.
Fish May contain parasites or bacteria. Cook fish to 63° C.
Meat: Beef, veal, lamb, and pork (including ground meat) Undercooked meat may contain E. coli. Cook beef, veal, and lamb steaks and roasts to 63° C. Cook pork and all ground meats to 72° C.
Meat spread or pate Unpasteurized refrigerated pates or meat spreads may contain Listeria monocytogenes. Eat canned versions.
Poultry and stuffing (including ground poultry) Undercooked meat may contain bacteria such as Campylobacter or Salmonella. Cook poultry to 74° C. Cook the stuffing to the same temperature or, better yet, cook it separately.
Smoked seafood Refrigerated versions are not safe unless they are cooked to 74° C. Eat canned versions or cook to 74° C.

Food Safety For Higher Risk Canadians is brought to you by the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) supported through an unrestricted educational grant from Maple Leaf Foods Inc.