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Should certain foods be avoided during pregnancy?

Food concerns during pregnancy include raw vegetables, unpasteurized juices, liver, and undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs. Be aware of food poisoning. Raw vegetables, unpasteurized juices, and undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs have been linked with Salmonella species and Escherichia coli (including the dangerous E coli 0157).

Cooking properly kills bacteria; the proper temperature can be determined by a meat thermometer, although cooking until well done is safe for most meat. Ground beef should be cooked to at least 160°F, roasts and steaks to 145°F, and whole poultry to 180°F. Eggs should have a firm yolk and white after cooking. Eggnog and hollandaise sauce have raw or partially cooked eggs and are not considered safe. Liver can contain extremely high levels of vitamin A and is probably safe, but it should be eaten in moderation.

In 2007, the FDA warned that Salmonella can be found on the outer skin and shell surfaces of small pet turtles and cautioned those handling turtles without properly washing their hands after handling the animals.

Mad cow disease, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, has become a growing concern. The disease can be transmitted to humans who eat infected meat, causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The chances of contracting this disease in the United States is relatively small, but chances can be reduced even further by choosing cuts of meat that are likely to be free of nervous system tissue such as boneless steaks, chops, and roasts. Grass-fed and organic cattle should not have been exposed to any animal products in their feed and are considered to have no known risk. The risk of mad cow disease cannot be lowered by cooking beef more thoroughly because the prions that cause mad cow disease are not destroyed by heat.

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