is roast beef safe to eat while pregnant

Is Roast Beef Safe to Eat While Pregnant?

Pregnancy comes with a whole new set of dietary considerations. While you want to avoid potential risks, you also don’t want to deprive yourself of delicious foods. So where does roast beef fall when it comes to safety during pregnancy? Let’s take a closer look.

What the Experts Say About Deli Meats

Many doctors and health organizations recommend avoiding cold cuts and deli meats while pregnant These include sliced ham, turkey, salami, roast beef and other pre-packaged luncheon meats you find at the grocery store deli counter

The concern with these meats is potential contamination with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. Pregnant women are about 10 times more likely to get listeriosis, the illness caused by Listeria. It can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm labor and illness in newborns.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women are advised to avoid eating refrigerated pâté or meat spreads, refrigerated smoked seafood, and raw or undercooked meats. All of these foods are at higher risk of Listeria.

The USDA also states that pregnant women should only eat luncheon meats and deli meats that have been reheated until steaming hot. The heating process kills any Listeria that may be present.

So the official recommendation is to avoid or severely limit cold deli meats, including standard grocery store roast beef. But what are the actual risks?

Assessing the Actual Risks of Deli Meats

While deli meats can harbor Listeria, the chances of consuming contaminated products are actually quite low. The CDC estimates about 2,600 listeriosis cases occur annually in the U.S. Among pregnant Hispanic women, the estimated risk of listeriosis from deli meats is 1 in 27,000.

So the odds are in your favor, but because the consequences can be so severe, avoidance is recommended out of an abundance of caution. However, many OB/GYNs will say an occasional small serving of quality deli meat is relatively low risk.

Much depends on the quality and handling. High-end roast beef sliced fresh in a sterile environment poses less risk than pre-packaged meats. Proper refrigeration and rapid consumption also lower the risk.

As with many pregnancy precautions, you can make your own informed decision based on your comfort level with very minimal risks. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons and particular factors that may affect your susceptibility.

Tips for Safely Enjoying Roast Beef While Pregnant

If giving up roast beef sandwiches entirely sounds miserable, here are some ways to potentially enjoy it more safely:

  • Choose high-quality roast beef and trusted sources like butcher counters. Avoid questionable gas station sandwiches.

  • Inspect the packaging and smell the meat before consuming. If anything seems off, throw it out.

  • Limit how long deli meats are kept refrigerated. Consume within 3-5 days of opening.

  • Microwave roast beef for about 20 seconds before eating to reduce bacteria. Don’t eat directly from package.

  • Opt for whole roast beef options you can slice yourself instead of pre-sliced deli meat.

  • Consume roast beef in moderation. Don’t make it an everyday meal.

  • Stay hydrated and ensure your immune system is supported through diet, supplements and lifestyle.

Again, heated and thoroughly cooked roast beef carries minimal concerns. The listeria worry centers on cold, ready-to-eat meats. So enjoy roast beef hot off the grill or oven!

Alternatives to Deli Roast Beef While Pregnant

If you decide to forgo cold roast beef out of precaution, plenty of other tasty options exist! Here are some healthier and lower-risk alternatives:

  • Oven-roasted turkey, chicken or beef you cook from scratch

  • Grilled hamburgers or meatloaf you prepare yourself

  • Hummus, peanut butter, almond butter or sunflower seed butter sandwiches

  • Grilled veggies with melted cheese on bread or wraps

  • Avocado toast with black bean salsa

  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches

  • Veggie-packed salads topped with hardboiled eggs or tuna salad

With a little creativity, you can still make hearty, satisfying sandwiches and meals without risky deli meats. Try new flavors and combinations!

The Takeaway on Roast Beef During Pregnancy

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of consuming roast beef from the deli during pregnancy. While the listeria risk is low, consequences can be high if you were to become ill. However, many OBs agree occasional consumption is reasonably safe.

Focus on making wise choices, controlling portions, and listening to your doctor’s recommendations. And you can always satisfy your sandwich fixings with lower-risk options like oven roasts and veggie sandwiches. Enjoy finding the right balance for your needs!

Can I eat deli meat while pregnant?


Can I eat cooked roast beef while pregnant?

Only if the meat is handled and cooked properly. The amount of antibiotic that gets to your baby when you eat meat is extremely small, so it’s unlikely your child would be harmed that way.

Is roast beef deli meat?

Deli turkey, ham and roast beef are some of the most commonly eaten cold cuts in the U.S. Adding these sliced deli meats to your sandwich can make for a tasty lunch—and they’re convenient, too. But you might be wondering if processed deli meat is healthy or not.

Can I eat cooked beef in early pregnancy?

Game meats may contain lead shot. You can eat: meats such as chicken, pork and beef, as long as they’re well-cooked with no trace of pink or blood; be especially careful with poultry, pork, sausages and burgers. cold, pre-packed meats such as ham and corned beef.

Can you eat meat while pregnant?

Follow safe food handling guidelines and don’t eat raw or undercooked meat while pregnant. Also, avoid eating deli or lunch meats, bacon, and hot dogs during pregnancy unless you heat these meats until they’re steaming hot or 165 degrees F. Can I eat meat while I’m pregnant?

Can you eat deli meat during pregnancy?

Processed meats to avoid during pregnancy, unless heated to the proper temperature, include deli meat such as turkey, ham, bologna, chicken, roast beef, prosciutto, and pepperoni. Heating them up in a skillet until they’re steaming hot should kill the bacteria, according to Jarosh.

Are processed meats safe during pregnancy?

Registered dietitian-nutritionist and author Willow Jarosh, MS, has a two-part answer regarding processed meats during pregnancy: “Lunchmeat [and other processed meats] can carry listeria,” she says.

Are processed meats safe for unborn children?

Processed meats are not considered safe for unborn children due to the risk of listeria contamination. The FDA defines listeria as a harmful bacterium that can be found in refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy (such as unpasteurized milk or foods made with unpasteurized milk).

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