Foods to Avoid

Sourced from the Food Standard Agency

There are certain foods you shouldn’t eat while you’re pregnant because they can contain high levels of Listeria, a germ that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn baby.

Remember to avoid the following: • Cheeses, such as Camembert, Brie or chevre (a type of goats’ cheese), or others that have a similar rind. You should also avoid soft blue cheese. You don’t need to avoid hard cheeses (such as Parmesan and Cheddar), cottage cheese and processed cheese.

 Pâté (any type, including vegetable).

Uncooked or undercooked ready meals. Make sure you heat ready meals until they’re piping hot all the way through. You should also remember to avoid eating raw eggs and food containing raw or partially cooked eggs. Only eat eggs that have been cooked until both the white and yolk are solid. This is to avoid the risk of salmonella, which causes a type of food poisoning.

Always wash your hands after handling raw meat, and keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods. This is to avoid food poisoning germs, such as salmonella, campylobacter and E. coli O157.

 Make sure you only eat meat that has been well cooked. Take particular care with poultry, sausages and minced meat. • Always wear gloves when you’re gardening or changing cat litter, and wash your hands afterwards. This is to avoid toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by a parasite found in meat, cat faeces and soil. Toxoplasmosis can be harmful to unborn babies.

Make sure you don’t have too much vitamin A. This means you should avoid taking supplements containing vitamin A and fish liver oil supplements (which contain high levels of vitamin A) and avoid eating liver and liver products such as pâté. You need some vitamin A, but too much could harm your baby. Ask your GP or midwife if you would like more information.

Avoid eating shark, swordfish and marlin. And limit the amount of tuna you eat to no more than two steaks a week (weighing about 140g cooked or 170g raw) or four medium size cans a week (about 140g drained weight per can). This is because of the levels of mercury in these fish. At high levels, mercury can harm a baby’s developing nervous system.

Have no more than two portions of oily fish a week. Oily fish includes fresh tuna (not canned tuna), mackerel, sardines and trout.

 Choose cooked shellfish rather than raw. This is because raw shellfish might be contaminated with harmful bacteria and viruses that could cause food poisoning. And food poisoning can be particularly unpleasant during pregnancy