Food is a potential source of infectious disease. Some foodborne infections can be particularly dangerous during pregnancy.

Contamination by harmful bacteria in food can be prevented by: 

  • only eating meat that has been cooked all the way through (official recommendations advise against eating roast beef that is still pink in the middle, rare or medium rare steak, steak tartare or carpaccio during pregnancy)
  • washing all fruits and vegetables thoroughly
  • preventing raw food products from coming into contact with prepared dishes
  • not eating any soft cheeses made from raw milk
  • not eating any pre-packaged smoked fish

See also the website of the Netherlands Nutrition Centre 

What to eat and what to avoid 

During pregnancy, you should ideally only use food that is fresh or freshly prepared, and keep storage in the fridge to a minimum. Foods which need careful attention:

  • Raw meat (risk of listeria contamination and toxoplasmosis)
  • Eating soft types of cheese made from (unpasteurised) raw milk (risk of listeria contamination)
  • Eggs or egg-based dishes which are not cooked all the way through or have not been hard-boiled (risk of contamination with salmonella)
  • Pre-packaged fish, such as smoked salmon (risk of listeria contamination)
  • Fresh products such as cold cuts and salads based on fresh vegetables that have been stored for an extended period (risk of listeria contamination)