Caution Advised Regarding Common Nutritional Error Among Expectant Mothers

A food safety expert, Associate Professor Julian Cox from UNSW, has issued a stark warning about the risks associated with consuming certain everyday foods during pregnancy.

According to Prof. Cox, there are several common food items that can harbor listeria, a dangerous foodborne bacterial pathogen known to pose severe risks to pregnant women and their unborn babies. Listeria infections can lead to serious complications, including miscarriage and meningitis in the fetus.

In a notable incident in 2018, six individuals in NSW died after consuming listeria-contaminated rockmelon.

Prof. Cox advises pregnant women to avoid consuming soft cheeses, unpasteurized dairy products, deli meats, packaged ready-to-eat meats, refrigerated meat spreads such as pate, chilled seafood, pre-packed salads and fruits (especially rockmelon), unpasteurized fruit juices, raw seed sprouts, and soft-serve ice cream.

It’s not just expectant mothers who are at risk; listeria infections can also have serious consequences for individuals over 65 years old and those with compromised immune systems.

Even if a pregnant woman shows no symptoms of a listeria infection, damage to the unborn child can still occur, Prof. Cox warns. In some cases, the infection has led to meningitis in the fetus, miscarriage, stillbirth, or listeriosis in the newborn. These potential complications underscore the importance of adhering to food safety guidelines during pregnancy.

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