Why Can’t You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant

Foodborne illness and toxoplasma

Food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness, can affect anyone, but pregnant women are more susceptible due to the immune system’s disruption during pregnancy. Consequently, your body might find it more difficult to fight off bacteria that can make you ill.

This includes bacteria that causes illnesses like toxoplasma. You run the risk of becoming ill, but your infant could also be impacted.

Surely you’re thinking, what’s the big deal, since beef jerky isn’t raw?

Jerky isn’t raw, that much is true, but it’s also not cooked in the conventional sense.

Meat that has been cooked to a high temperature helps destroy potentially harmful bacteria. Since jerky is made of dried meat, not all bacteria will necessarily be eliminated by this process. You cannot be certain of the temperature at which jerky was dried when you purchase it from a store.

Therefore, every time you eat jerky, you’re essentially taking a chance on your health.

In healthy individuals, toxoplasmosis is a common infection that typically doesn’t result in major complications. Since the infection can resolve itself, some people are unaware that they have it at all.

But it’s crucial that you take all reasonable precautions to avoid contracting toxoplasmosis while pregnant because this illness can result in birth defects. This entails cleaning your hands after handling undercooked meat, washing fruits and vegetables before eating, and yes, staying away from beef jerky.

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The answer to the question of whether or not to eat beef jerky while pregnant is dependent on a few factors, the first of which is the kind of jerky.

While some jerkies are fully dried and marketed as shelf-stable, other types may be found in the grocery store’s refrigerated area. The meats in the deli section are obviously off limits because, even though they have been cooked and/or cured, they are more likely to fall into the “temperature danger zone,” which increases the risk of harmful bacteria growing on them. In essence, this is a range of temperatures where bacteria are more likely to proliferate.

While the shelf-stable jerky may be safe to eat in moderation, there is also a chance of contracting a foodborne illness from this variety due to brand-specific variations in the drying and cooking temperatures.

Jerky also tends to be very high in sodium and often contains nitrates/nitrites, which aren’t the greatest for your overall health anyway. The last thing you need to worry about managing while preparing for a baby is high blood pressure!

What Are the Risks of Eating Beef Jerky During Pregnancy?

Beef jerky is a simple, protein-rich, tasty snack. But because smoking and drying meat reduces but does not completely eliminate the risk of bacterial contamination, you might want to reconsider eating it during pregnancy. This does not imply that you cannot eat meat while pregnant, but it is recommended that you limit your intake to cooked meat.

Although you can still get food poisoning when you’re not pregnant, the effects of pregnancy on your immune system make you more susceptible. Therefore, although your body may have no trouble fighting bacteria before becoming pregnant, it may struggle to do so during pregnancy.

The disease condition Toxoplasma gondii is brought on by is a protozoan parasite. Eating undercooked, contaminated meat or coming into contact with contaminated cat excrement are the usual causes of this illness. Symptoms of toxoplasmosis can include fever, headaches, aches in the muscles, exhaustion, inflammation of the lungs, etc. , and during pregnancy the illness may be transferred from mother to child. Although this condition is common and usually goes away on its own in healthy individuals, it poses a particular risk during pregnancy as it can cause birth defects.