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Pregnancy and the Food Handling Course


Pregnancy is a wonderful time for most women.  The body is changing as a little life grows within.  This life is completely dependent on the mother for nourishment as it grows at a truly astonishing rate.  During this time, most women take a good, long look at their eating habits and make adjustments.   Eating out while pregnant can be a challenge since there are several foods a lady with child must avoid.  It is especially important, during this time, to only eat at reputable restaurants where you know each kitchen and serving staff member has taken an up-to-date food handling course.

While pregnant, avoid hot dogs and deli meats unless they have been thoroughly cooked and are served very hot. These types of foods are common in buffets and cafeterias.  Servers with a food handling course are more likely to prepare and serve hot dogs and deli meats in a way that is safe for pregnant women.

Another type of food the lady carrying a child must steer away from is soft cheese.  This includes Brie, Camembert and feta.  These types of cheeses contain unpasteurized milk which can cause listeriosis.  Listeriosis is caused by the pathogen listeria monocytogenes. If you come down with listeriosis while in the early stages of pregnancy it may cause you to miscarry.  In later stages of pregnancy, the placenta may become infected which can cause stillbirth or an early death of the infant shortly after delivery.  Listeriosis can take on many different forms depending on which organ becomes infected.  These forms include: endocarditis, meningitis, pneumonia, septicemia, abscesses, conjunctivitis, gastroenteritis, and skin lesions.  Food workers in possession of a food handling course certificate may be able to offer you substitutions for these soft cheese products and may be aware of the dangers of serving soft cheese to a pregnant woman.

While more greens and vegetables should be consumed while pregnant, avoid store-bought deli salads.  Although deli workers must have taken a food handling course, the risk of e-coli in these salads is much higher.  Many types of lettuce, spinach and sprouts can carry e-coli on their own but in an environment where raw meats and dairy products are constantly present, this risk goes up exponentially.  This also goes for ham, chicken and seafood salads. Just to be on the safe side, make your own salads at home or eat them at a reputable restaurant where you know food handling course requirements are strictly enforced.

Refrigerated meat spreads can also carry pathogens, however, if you shudder at the thought of going nine months without paté, you can eat meat spreads that have been processed by canning.  When eating out, ask your server if the meat spreads are made in house or come from a can.

Pregnancy is a very beautiful, special and wondrous time; taking precautions to protect yourself from food borne illnesses while expecting dramatically increases the likelihood of a healthy, full term birth.  Do not avoid eating out, just ensure that the places you choose enforce the food handling course guidelines.