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Are berries safe to eat when your pregnant?

We monitor food safety matters that we think will be of interest to consumers and that might relate to our products.

A recent food safety update from the Ministry of Primary Industries gives updated guidance for pregnant women. This advice follows research by NZ Food Safety and considers food not previously covered, risk attributes of foods and options to avoid a potentially harmful experience at a time of increased vulnerability.

In particular the focus is on avoidance or safe treatment and preparations of foods in 16 higher risk categories particularly foods considered raw or unpasteurised. The risk (including berries) is because of potentially harmful microbes that might be present on these foods that can cause significant food illness.

Dr Claire McDonald, Manager Operational Research at New Zealand Food Safety said the key information for women includes:

· thoroughly cooking seed sprouts (such as alfalfa or mung bean) before eating.

· thoroughly cooking dried herbs before eating.

· avoiding unpasteurised fruit juices and non-alcoholic cider.

· avoiding low-acid, soft, pasteurised cheeses like Brie, Camembert, blue cheeses, ricotta, mozzarella, and feta unless they’re cooked.

· updating guidance on some pasteurised dairy products (i.e. following manufacturer’s labelling advice and “best before” dates, etc.).

· freshly cooked fish, mussels, oysters, crayfish, scallops, etc., should be cooked thoroughly until piping hot and eaten while hot.

· whole melons should be washed and dried before cutting.

· frozen berries should be cooked thoroughly before eating.

· no restrictions on number of servings per week for gemfish, oreo dories, orange roughy, ling and smooth oreo fish species (previous advice limited the number of servings per week to minimise mercury intake).

If you would like more information for yourself or friends and family that may be expecting, we recommend information on the following websites:

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