Are Pregnant Women Allowed to Eat Cooked Hot Dogs?

If you are pregnant and happen to like to eat hot dogs, you probably have heard a few warnings. Hot dogs are an American favorite at barbecues, baseball games and social gatherings alike. Also known as frankfurters or wieners, hot dogs are cured meat made from pork, beef or poultry byproducts. Women are cautioned against consuming ready-to-eat foods such as cold cuts, soft cheeses and hot dogs during pregnancy because of the possibility of consuming harmful bacteria. With careful preparation, women may continue to enjoy hot dogs throughout pregnancy without fear of illness.

Bacterial Infection

Listeria monocytogenes is a genus of bacteria found in cold-cut deli meats, soft cheeses, and cured meats. This bacteria is responsible for causing listeriosis, an infection characterized by flu-like symptoms and gastrointestinal distress. Those particularly susceptible to listeriosis include elderly adults, small children, anyone with weakened immune functions and pregnant women. Listeriosis is particularly dangerous during pregnancy because it can lead to miscarriage, premature delivery, infection or even death to the baby.

Proper Heating

Listeria monocytogenes can be destroyed with heat. Even though hot dogs are considered precooked, it is important that you cook them sufficiently in order to eliminate the presence of bacteria. The risk for listeriosis is greatest when consuming uncooked deli meats; if not heated properly, bacteria will continue to thrive. Whether they are grilled, boiled or microwaved, your hot dogs should be steaming and served hot. Do not allow the hot dogs to become cold or you risk further contamination.

Sodium Nitrates

Additional concerns associated with hot dog consumption are sodium nitrates. Sodium nitrates and nitrites are compounds manufactured and used as food preservatives to enhance color and extend shelf-life. As food preservatives, they prevent the formation of harmful bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum.

A study conducted by Dr. Ute Nothlings, et al, in the 2007 Journal of Epidemiology revealed that participants who consumed processed meats in large amounts had a high risk of pancreatic cancer. Sodium nitrites are also associated with causing damage to blood vessels thus increasing the risk for developing heart disease.

Alternatives

If you want to avoid risks associated with bacteria or nitrates but still enjoy hot dogs, there are alternatives. Meat-free options exist on the market that are made from soy-meat substitutes, grains and vegetables. These vegetarian friendly options are also lower in fat compared to traditional hot dogs.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.