Cold lunch meat is just one more thing on a long list of things you’re told to avoid during pregnancy. Processed meats such as hot dogs and lunchmeat pose the threat of introducing harmful bacteria to your already compromised system and can possibly result in an infection known as Listeriosis. Listeria monocytogenes are a common bacteria found almost everywhere in nature and is easily killed with heat. This bacteria can pose a potential problem for the expecting mother and child, so cooking things such as lunchmeat is important to avoid getting ill.
Wash your hands with warm soapy water and dry them off with a clean towel to prevent spreading germs while handling food.
Take the lunchmeat out of its packaging and set it onto a plate.
Place the plate into the microwave and set it to high heat.
Cook the lunch meat in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on how much you are heating. Keep a close eye on it as it cooks.
Check the temperature of the lunch meat with a meat thermometer. Lunchmeat needs to be heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill parasites and bacteria before it is safe to consume.
Remove the lunchmeat from the microwave for immediate use.
If you don’t have a microwave, cook the lunchmeat in a pan on the stove over medium heat until it is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep lunchmeat stored in the refrigerator at a temperature no higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not leave lunchmeat out at room temperature. If you are eating out, ask for your sandwich meat to be heated to the point where it is steaming to be on the safe side.
If you begin to experience diarrhea, fever, chills, and stomachaches, contact your doctor immediately as it may be an indication of a food borne illness.
- Colorado State University Extension; Food Safety During Pregnancy; J. Dean, et al.; December 2006
- American Pregnancy Association: Listeria and Pregnancy
- MayoClinic.com: Pregnancy Nutrition: Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
- North Dakota State University Extension; Safe and Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
- The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension: Expectant Mothers and Food-borne Illness