Health Canada

Health Canada

September 21, 2010 12:12 ET

Reminding Pregnant Women of the Importance of Food Safety

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 21, 2010) - Health Canada is reminding women who are pregnant of the importance of food safety.

During pregnancy, both woman and unborn child are at an increased risk for foodborne illness. This is because a woman's immune system is weakened during pregnancy, making it harder to fight off infections. The unborn baby's immune system is also not developed enough to fight off harmful foodborne bacteria. For both mother and baby, foodborne illness can cause serious health problems.

It's estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of foodborne illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.

While it's always important for Canadians to follow proper food safety steps, it's especially important for women to pay close attention to food safety during pregnancy. To protect themselves and their unborn baby, pregnant women should follow the four key steps to food safety: Cook; Clean; Chill and Separate.


  • Pregnant women should also pay close attention to what they are eating during their pregnancy. Some foods are at a higher risk for foodborne illness than others.
    • Make sure to cook hot dogs and deli meats until they are steaming hot before eating them
    • Don't eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry and seafood
    • Avoid refrigerated smoked fish and seafood
    • Avoid unpasteurized juice, cider and milk
    • Avoid soft and semi-soft cheeses made from raw or unpasteurized milk
    • Avoid refrigerated pâtés and meat spreads.
    • Avoid uncooked foods made from raw or unpasteurized eggs.

For more information on the four steps to food safety and food safety tips for pregnant women, please visit:

Government of Canada's Food Safety Tips for Women who are Pregnant (

It's Your Health on Food Safety for Pregnant Women (

Government of Canada's Food Safety website (

Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education's Be Food Safe Canada Campaign (

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