For nine months, so much is off the menu for pregnant women. Alcohol, of course, but also cured meats, soft cheeses, sashimi, Carpaccio and poached eggs.
On top of this, many pregnant women are told they shouldn’t eat soft serve ice cream. But why?
Risk of food poisoning
Soft serve is a tricky one for pregnant women because it is typically stored at refrigeration temperature - around 0 to 5 degrees Celcius - and because ice cream is high in moisture, listeria can grow quite quickly in it.
Listeria is the main type of food poisoning that pregnant women are at risk of, and it’s the reason they can’t have things like undercooked meat and eggs, soft cheeses and even pre-washed salads. In each of these foods, it thrives. However, the most common cause of listeria outbreaks in soft serve isn’t to do with refrigeration, or even the product itself - it’s the cleanliness of the machine dispensing it.
Thorough cleaning - with an effective sanitiser - and regular maintenance usually prevent listeria from developing. But for the typical customer, who has no access to the machine (and therefore can’t check), it’s difficult to know what’s really going on.
The Food Authority notes that many fast food chains now have “self-pasteurising machines”, where the dry mix is heated to such a temperature where all bacteria is killed. But again, cleanliness may still be an issue.
Like most chances of food poisoning, it’s difficult to know whether the risk is worth taking, but to avoid the risk of developing food poisoning and potentially harming the unborn baby, it might be worth laying off the soft serve.
If you have further questions, we recommend speaking to a healthcare professional.
Use Whitecoat to easily find an appropriate healthcare provider near you.
Sourced from SBS in Health News
02 Feb 2017