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Food safety in pregnancy

It is always important to be careful about how you prepare food in the home to avoid the nasty bugs that can cause food poisoning. When you are pregnant, planning a baby or have just had your baby it is more important than ever. Just following some basic guidelines can really help to reduce your risk of getting food poisoning.

  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water and dry them - before preparing food, after touching raw meat, after going to the toilet, sneezing, blowing your nose or touching animals (including pets).
  • Wash worktops with warm soapy water before and after preparing food, especially if you are preparing raw meat.
  • Dishcloths and tea towels are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria - wash your cloths and tea towels regularly and let them dry completely before using again.
  • Wash fruit and vegetables with running water before eating (even if you are going to peel them).
  • Have separate chopping boards for raw meat and ready to eat foods to avoid bacteria from raw meat being transferred.
  • Keep raw meat and ready to eat foods separately and don't allow them to come into contact or be placed on the same surface without washing it. Bacteria in raw meat can be killed when you cook it, but not if they are transferred to foods like salads, fruit or bread.
  • Make sure you cover raw meat and keep it on the bottom shelf of the fridge so that it cannot touch or drip on to any other foods.
  • When you cook food, make sure that it is piping hot all the way through. For meats like poultry, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs, check that they are cooked all the way through with no pink meat on the inside.
  • Check your fridge temperature (you can get small temperature checkers for your fridge) and make sure it is between 0 and 4o
  • If you have leftovers or food that you are not going to eat straight away, cool it as quickly as you can (within an hour and a half) and then store it in the fridge or freezer. Eat foods that you have stored in the fridge within 2 days.Harm
  • Harmful bacteria can grow in foods with a 'use by' date e.g. cooked meats, cheeses, prepared salads, - so don't eat them after they've gone past this.
Last reviewed June 2011. Next review due June 2014
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