Can You Eat Pepperoni When Pregnant – In almost all countries, pregnant women are advised not to eat meat at lunch or dinner (also known as “afternoon”). It’s pepperoni and salami.
I’ll use the term bring meat in this article, but lunch meat is one thing. You’ll find prepackaged, often processed meats at delis and supermarket counters. It is usually used in sandwiches or salads.
Can You Eat Pepperoni When Pregnant
It is convenient, popular and eaten all over the world. Unfortunately, it is not always safe to eat during pregnancy. Pepperoni and salami are also classified as meat.
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This list is not exhaustive, but can generally be defined as preserving or processing meat, including smoking, curing, adding salt or spices, or preservatives.
Meats that are not served include meat straight from the bone, such as turkey or chicken. Note that “bone broth” is still processed because the broth is usually cured or refined to some extent.
It is not a myth that pregnant women should avoid meat or lunch. The reason pregnant women should be told to avoid meat is because of the risk of listeria contamination. Although rare, listeria can cause miscarriage in pregnancy.
The bacteria that causes toxoplasmosis in some cured but undercooked meats, such as Parma ham, can be Toxoplasma gondii, which can seriously affect pregnant women and their unborn babies.
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Deli meat is particularly susceptible to bacterial contamination because it is usually eaten cold, without the opportunity to kill the bacteria with heat before eating.
Display and storage may pose a risk of contamination from other bacteria (eg in refrigerated displays) or from production (eg from processed meat mixes). The good news is that heat kills bacteria, including listeria.
The only way to make meat safe during pregnancy is to heat it until it reaches 165F or 75c. If you can’t measure the exact temperature, it’s often called “hot.”
Harmful bacteria are killed at this temperature, which is safe for pregnant women. Achieving this temperature can be achieved in many ways and is easy to do yourself at home.
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If you’re at a restaurant or sandwich bar, ask for the meat to be reheated. This means that the delivery or grocery store must reheat the meat better than usual.
For example, Metro toasts their sandwiches to heat the meat, but you’ll have to ask if you can toast longer or if the meat is microwaved.
Meanwhile, there are other places where your meat is sold – just ask for it “steamed” rather than warm. Most places will be happy to do this for you. You can eat a sandwich while you’re pregnant, I wrote a separate article, and if you want to fill in the blanks, you can easily heat up meat samples.
When it comes to ways to safely reheat meat at home during pregnancy, you have several options. The following are:
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This is the easiest way to bring meat up to temperature. Microwave the meat for 30-60 seconds (depending on microwave power) until piping hot. If the meat is fattier (e.g. salami) and tends to spread, you can cover it with a kitchen towel while cooking.
All three methods here involve placing the meat under some sort of heating element. Use medium instead of high setting or the meat will burn. Again, “hot steam” is the key here, it should take 5-10 minutes depending on how strong the smell is. Remember to turn the meat halfway through cooking to ensure even heat.
Preheat the oven to 400 F/210c to heat the meat. Place the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until heated through.
This isn’t the usual way to reheat deli meat, but if you want to reheat it, you can boil it for about three minutes, then serve it with a side of roast beef without the extra charge of the above methods.
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In all of the above cooking examples, the meat should be eaten immediately after heating. If left to refrigerate for too long, it increases the chance of bacterial growth, especially if it is unopened and/or at room temperature. Always cover and refrigerate meat.
Advice on whether or not to eat pre-packaged deli meat while pregnant varies depending on which country you’re traveling to. In the United States, the American Pregnancy Association advises pregnant women to avoid all types of meat, including beef. prepared in advance. You can heat the meat to ensure it is ready to use.
Advice varies across the UK. The National Health Service recommends that pregnant women eat the meat if it is prepared ahead of time and the label says “ready-to-eat,” even if it is served cold without reheating (eg, a sandwich).
If you want to be “extra” careful, you can heat the meat until it’s steamed and eat it while you’re pregnant.
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It is not clear why there is such a difference in advice from country to country. This may be due to different food practices such as food preparation and packaging. However, both agree that cooked meats are safe for pregnant women.
Many women think that the advice to avoid meat is mostly based on nitrates. This is not the case – meat can be contaminated with bacteria due to the way it is prepared, stored and served. Pregnant women are advised to avoid these but not nitrates.
The FDA specifies that foods containing nitrates (or sodium nitrate) must contain less than 500 ppm (parts per million) of nitrates to be safe for consumption (source: FDA). Most foods contain nitrates naturally, but some are added to preserve color or prevent spoilage. Most meats contain nitrates.
There are no official guidelines recommending that pregnant women avoid nitrates. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US and its European equivalent (the European Food Safety Authority) both say that nitrate-rich foods are safe to consume at current levels.
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However, to date, there are no definitive studies on the significant effects of dietary nitrates on pregnant women or their unborn babies. Therefore, it is considered safe to eat foods with nitrates.
However, many foods that contain nitrates are not particularly nutritious or healthy during pregnancy, as nitrates are often found in bacon, hot dogs, fatty meats, and many of the best foods to eat moderately during pregnancy.
If you have a choice, it doesn’t hurt to choose a nitrate-free version of meat if possible. However, to be safe, it requires heating until hot.
If you’re pregnant, you can eat the meat, pepperoni, and salami on the pizza, as long as it’s not hot and/or cooked too much. Avoid pizza toppings that are added right out of the oven, if the pepperoni is on a crust pizza (calson), it’s hard to tell if the pepperoni is reheated.
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If you’re looking for some great pizza advice, I’ve written a comprehensive guide to eating pizza during pregnancy that you might find interesting.
There are certain situations where meat (including pepperoni and corn) that has been sufficiently heated in certain dishes can be eaten during pregnancy. All of these dishes are eaten after the meat is cooked and served hot:
I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten cold turkey. Statistically, your chances of getting shortlisted are very low. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,600 cases of listeriosis occur each year (source: CDC).
Considering how much meat is eaten in the US every day, that’s a small amount. However, because listeriosis infection is very serious, you should avoid the usual symptoms after eating undercooked meat.
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Many of the above symptoms can be caused by “normal” problems during pregnancy, such as morning sickness. However, if you have eaten uncooked or raw meat and notice anything unusual or feel unwell, contact your healthcare professional immediately.
Tell them you ate meat and how long ago. It’s probably good, but it’s best to check. Use these guidelines to reheat meat that is safer to use during pregnancy.
Gina is a researcher and founder of pregnancy nutrition. Certificate in Nutrition and Lifestyle
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