Food Standards Australia and New Zealand told Mum’s Grapevine it has updated its advice on pregnancy and food safety, following new recommendations released by the New Zealand Government.
The advice for all Australian pregnant women is to avoid unpasteurised fruit juices and hummus or other dips containing tahini.
As part of the updated advice for expecting women, the authority also suggests avoiding raw sprouts, soft cheeses unless thoroughly cooked and to thoroughly wash fruit and vegetables. These products carry a risk of the bacteria listeria, which can lead to listeriosis, a type of food poisoning.
“Fruit juice is something we all see as so healthy. It’s great nutritionally but there’s a risk when it comes to an important pathogen called listeria,” UNSW associate professor of Food Microbiology, Julian Cox, told the Morning Show.
“Unpasteurised juices that are pressed or blended and presented ready-to-drink, present a risk. The average healthy adult, no problem at all. But when it comes to pregnancy and listeria, which can infect at low dose and have severe outcomes, it’s really best to avoid them.”
What is listeriosis?
Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning that develops after eating food contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria found in some foods. Pregnant women, unborn babies, and newborns are at greater risk from listeriosis.
What are Listeriosis symptoms?
Listeriosis symptoms usually develop within three weeks but can take up to 70 days to start showing any signs. Listeriosis symptoms include…
- muscle aches
- sometimes nausea and diarrhoea
- collapse and shock
- stiff neck
- loss of balance
How to avoid listeria
The best way to avoid getting Listeriosis is to avoid consuming foods where the Listeria bacteria are found. Other things you can do to reduce your risk of getting Listeriosis include washing your fruit and vegetables, reheating food until it’s steaming hot, avoiding food that is past its use-by date, and making sure food is thoroughly cooked through.
Which foods contain listeria?
According to health authorities, there are several foods that are found to contain listeria and should be avoided by pregnant mums. These include,
- cold meats from delicatessen counters and sandwich bars
- packaged, sliced ready-to-eat cold meats
- cold cooked ready-to-eat chicken (whole, portions, or diced)
- pre-packaged fruit or vegetable salads,
- prepared salads from buffets and salad bars
- raw seed sprouts
- raw oysters, sashimi and sushi, smoked ready-to-eat seafood
- ready-to-eat prawns
- soft, semi-soft and surface-ripened cheeses such as brie, camembert, ricotta, blue and feta (unless thoroughly cooked)
- refrigerated paté or meat spreads
- soft serve ice cream
- unpasteurised fruit juices
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