Other Conditions & Exposures

Expert reports about Other Conditions & Exposures


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO EAT RAW, UNDERCOOKED, OR COLD MEATS AND SEAFOOD DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What are raw, undercooked, or cold meats and seafood?

Raw meats are meats that have not been cooked. Undercooked meats are meats that have been cooked only partly, such that they are not cooked all the way through, or not cooked with as much heat or for as much time as would be considered normal for cooking the particular type of meat. In terms of health risks, undercooking meat means not cooking it to a particular temperature and keeping it hot long enough to meet public health guidelines for preparation of the particular meat type. Cold meats are meat that have been cooked, but are sold and/or served cold. Cold meats include delicatessen meats (“deli meats”, and other meats that are used for cold sandwiches. The term seafood refers to fish, including vertebrate (bony) fish, or invertebrates (shellfish). Like land meats, seafood can be cooked, undercooked, or cooked and then served cold. Raw, undercooked, and cold meat and seafood carry a risk of being infected with disease causing organisms, such as at type of bacterial called Listeria monocytogenes, which causes what is called listeriosis. In contrast, meat and fish cooked to an adequate temperature for an enough time, and not subsequently exposed to raw meat or fish, are safe in terms of the potential for harboring disease-causing organisms.


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