OTTAWA, Dec. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Health Canada is reminding women who are
pregnant of the importance of food safety.
During pregnancy, both the expecting mother and the unborn child are at
an increased risk for foodborne illness. This is because a woman's
immune system is weakened during pregnancy, making it harder to fight
off infections. The unborn baby's immune system is also not developed
enough to fight off harmful foodborne bacteria. For both mother and
baby, foodborne illness can cause serious health problems.
It's estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of
foodborne illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses
could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation
While it's always important for Canadians to follow proper food safety
steps, it's especially important for women to pay close attention to
food safety during pregnancy. To protect themselves and their unborn
baby, pregnant women should follow the four key steps to food safety: Cook; Clean; Chill and Separate.
Cook - Always cook food to the safe internal temperatures. You can check this by using a digital food thermometer. Colour alone is not a reliable indicator that meat is safe to eat.
Meat can turn brown before all the bacteria are killed.
Clean - Properly clean anything that comes in contact with the food (your
hands, kitchen surfaces and utensils, reusable grocery bags, etc.). This will help eliminate bacteria and reduce your risk of
foodborne illness. In addition, fruits and vegetables should be washed under running water that is suitable for drinking.
Chill - It is extremely important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot so
that your food never reaches the "danger temperature zone," which is
between 4oC and 60oC (40oF and 140oF). Defrosting raw meat, poultry and seafood (including fish or
shellfish) should be done in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or immersed in cold water (i.e., keep the food in its original
wrapping and change the water every half hour to ensure the water
remains cold), never at room temperature. Food thawed in the microwave
should be cooked immediately.
Separate - It is important to always separate your raw foods, such as meat and
eggs, from ready-to-eat foods, such as cooked meat and vegetables, to
Pregnant women should also pay close attention to what they are eating
during their pregnancy. Some foods carry a higher risk of causing
foodborne illness than others.
Make sure to cook hot dogs and deli meats until they are steaming hot
before eating them
Don't eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry and seafood (including fish and shellfish)
Avoid refrigerated smoked seafood (including fish and shellfish)
Avoid unpasteurized fruit juice, cider and milk
Avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized or pasteurized milk (such as brie and camembert) as well as semi-soft cheeses made from
unpasteurized milk (such as semi soft blue-veined cheeses).
Avoid refrigerated pâtés and meat spreads
Avoid foods with raw or undercooked eggs such as salad dressings and cookie dough
Avoid raw sprouts such as alfalfa, clover, radish and mung beans
For more information on food safety and guidelines for pregnant women,
It's Your Health
Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education
Stay connected with Health Canada and receive the latest advisories and
product recalls using these social media tools: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/home-accueil/sm-ms/index-eng.php
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SOURCE: Health Canada
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