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Foods to avoid in pregnancy

Find out what foods you need to avoid when you're pregnant so you won't become ill and that your baby isn't harmed.

There are some foods to avoid or take care with when you're pregnant as they might make you ill or harm your baby.

These include:

  • unpasteurised dairy (milk and cheese) - pasteurisation kills bacteria in milk through heating
  • cheeses such as brie and camembert
  • blue cheeses such as Danish blue, Gorgonzola and Roquefort
  • pâté
  • foods made with raw or under-cooked eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise
  • raw or under-cooked meat
  • cold cured meats such as salami, parma ham, chorizo and pepperoni
  • liver - including liver sausage, haggis and pâté containing liver
  • shark, swordfish, and marlin
  • limit tuna to one 150g cooked weight fresh tuna steak or two 240g cans - 140g drained weight - per week
  • raw fish
  • soft-serve ice cream

Food products that are not pasteurised, or are mould-ripened, may contain bacteria that is dangerous for your baby, such as listeria. 

Food poisoning in pregnancy

Food poisoning can be dangerous when you are pregnant.

To avoid food poisoning:

  • wash your hands before, during and after food preparation
  • use different knives, chopping boards and utensils for raw and cooked food
  • put food in the fridge as quickly as possible
  • keep raw and cooked meats separate
  • wash all fruits, vegetables and pre-packed salads before eating
  • eat leftovers within 2 to 3 days
  • do not eat foods past their use-by date
  • make sure all meat, poultry, seafood and eggs are cooked thoroughly

Related topic

Information on use-by and best before dates from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Page last reviewed: 15/03/2018
Next review due: 15/03/2021