Food Safety for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

Keep Yourself and Your Baby Safe from Listeriosis

Listeria is a harmful bacteria.  It can grow slowly at refrigerator temperatures.  You are much more likely to get the disease caused by Listeria - called listeriosis - when you are pregnant. It can be transmitted to your unborn baby even if you are not showing signs of illness.


Follow this advice to prevent listeriosis:

Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, bologna, or other deli meat unless they are reheated until steaming hot.

Do not eat refrigerated pâté, meat spreads from a meat counter, or smoked seafood found in the refrigerated section of the store. Foods that don't need refrigeration, like canned tuna and canned salmon, are okay to eat. Refrigerate after opening.

Do not drink unpasteurized (raw) milk.  Do not eat foods that have raw milk in them.

Do not eat salads made in the store such as ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, or seafood salad.

Do not eat soft cheese such as Feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, Brie, Camembert cheeses, blue-veined cheeses, and Panela unless it is made with pasteurized milk. Make sure the label says, "Made with pasteurized milk."


Ask your doctor or health care provider if you have questions about listeriosis and pregnancy.  To learn more, visit these websites:

Protect Your Baby and Yourself from Listeriosis (from FSIS)

Listeriosis - General Information (from CDC)


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