What you can and can’t eat when you’re pregnant

At our first prenatal visit, which at 8 weeks seemed very late, we finally got some food safety advice from the medical staff. Along with the typical list of foods to avoid (non-pasteurized cheeses, smoked salmon, etc.), the staff member told us if we do eat cold cuts, it is advisable to get them from the deli counter in the supermarket rather than buying the packaged ones from big companies. We were a bit surprised, as this was … exactly wrong advice. The risk of listeria from the deli section is generally higher because it’s difficult to clean the slicers and we do not know how often they are cleaned.

While Ben and Doug have been going back and forth about which cheeses are safe for me and Dani to eat (is pasteurized brie OK or not? what about blue-veined cheeses?), I realize I cannot eliminate every risk from my diet. I can, however, minimize some of them. I just slice the brie, put it on Doug’s homemade baguettes, and pop it in the toaster. (It’s also delicious with a sliced beet.) The heat serves as a kill-step in case there is a concern. No, I do not use my meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the soft cheese. I supposed you could if you really are worried, but at that point it’s probably easier to not eat brie.

Although I very much miss smoked salmon — a staple food before pregnancy, I will not eat it unless it has been thoroughly cooked. Yesterday Salmolux Inc recalled 6140 packages of their Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon Nova Lox because of a possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Unfortunately, this kind of recall is common in minimally processed ready-to-eat foods. While no one is reported ill from this possible contamination, the risk is one I’m not willing to take.