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Oy Vey...Prenatal Lunch

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  • #16
    Deli meats are actually a bigger risk for listeria than soft cheeses. But the risk is real - an artisan cheesemaker here was forced into bankruptcy by a six-months-pregnant woman eating his cheese and subsequently miscarrying due to listeriosis. I read something a few days ago though that provided some evidence that susceptibility to food-borne illness is more due to your own internal flora than the bacteria themselves - the upshot of that being that you should get your insides in order before you become pregnant, or stay away from cheese and sushi and deli meats and other yummy things.

    Sorry, TOTAL thread derailment there....

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    • #17
      Originally posted by spughy View Post
      Deli meats are actually a bigger risk for listeria than soft cheeses. But the risk is real - an artisan cheesemaker here was forced into bankruptcy by a six-months-pregnant woman eating his cheese and subsequently miscarrying due to listeriosis. I read something a few days ago though that provided some evidence that susceptibility to food-borne illness is more due to your own internal flora than the bacteria themselves - the upshot of that being that you should get your insides in order before you become pregnant, or stay away from cheese and sushi and deli meats and other yummy things.

      Sorry, TOTAL thread derailment there....
      Could you provide a link? I'd be very interested in that.

      I know that the risk is highest with cold cooked things that have been standing around a while. So if your ham or pate is frreshly cooked you should be fine. The trouble is that pate you buy in the shops may have been sitting around for weeks before you get hold of it.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by orielwen View Post
        Could you provide a link? I'd be very interested in that.

        I know that the risk is highest with cold cooked things that have been standing around a while. So if your ham or pate is frreshly cooked you should be fine. The trouble is that pate you buy in the shops may have been sitting around for weeks before you get hold of it.
        Yeah, that's exactly right. The article I read was in the New York Times - this one. I have a personal anecdote that illustrates it well - two friends and I went out for a wine-and-cheese evening and ate all kinds of squooshy, interesting, sometimes raw milk cheeses at several restaurants around town. We all ate exactly the same cheeses, in mostly the same amounts, and I probably ate the most. Both my friends got sick about 72 hours later with classic listeriosis symptoms, but I didn't even get a tummy-wobble. They both eat pretty standard diets but I've always eaten all my veg from farm stands, never buy washed eggs if I can help it, eat tons of raw cheese, etc. Also I was raised in a very dirt-friendly environment (my dad grew all our veg, we played in the dirt every possible second of childhood and we ate a lot of wild food).

        Also, my mom's next-door-neighbour is a physician, who is often called on to evaluate complaints of food poisoning against a restaurant. He said it's virtually impossible to really pin food contamination down - even if tests come back positive for a specific bacteria, for every 10 people who get sick from eating the contaminated food, in most cases, there are another 50 who don't. So definitely, there are huge individual differences in terms of susceptibility.

        That having been said, if you're pregnant, now is NOT the time to actively work on boosting your domestic bugs. If you don't have a few years' (at least) history of eating lots of fermented food, dirt-laden veggies and playing in environments that are essentially probiotic soup (like the seashore, an organic garden, etc.) AND if you are an avid hand-washer and user of Purelle, just assume that you and the listeria aren't going to be happy together and definitely follow the conventional "avoid deli meats, soft cheeses, raw dairy, and sushi" advice.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by spughy View Post
          Deli meats are actually a bigger risk for listeria than soft cheeses. But the risk is real - an artisan cheesemaker here was forced into bankruptcy by a six-months-pregnant woman eating his cheese and subsequently miscarrying due to listeriosis. I read something a few days ago though that provided some evidence that susceptibility to food-borne illness is more due to your own internal flora than the bacteria themselves - the upshot of that being that you should get your insides in order before you become pregnant, or stay away from cheese and sushi and deli meats and other yummy things.

          Sorry, TOTAL thread derailment there....
          oh, this steams me badly. i have never been pregnant, and even i know doctors tell moms-to-be to avoid certain foods, like fresh or raw cheese. am sorry that this woman lost a baby, but had she no personal responsibility in what she put in her own mouth? urgh.
          As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

          Ernest Hemingway

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