food and nutrition, toxoplasma, meat, vegetarian, diet and pregnancy

Q: Can I eat meat during pregnancy?

A: You can eat meat during pregnancy as part of a well-balanced diet as long as you prepare the meat well. There are many studies which show that undercooked meat can transmit an organism called 'toxoplasmosis'.

Toxoplasma gondii can be found in raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, and unpasteurized milk. Cats that eat raw meat or rodents can become infected, and the parasite lives in the cat’s feces for two weeks. Toxoplasma gondii eggs can live in cat feces buried in soil up to 18 months.

To avoid infection from undercooked meat, pregnant women should:

  1. Cook meat until it is no longer pink and the juices run clear.
  2. Don't eat locally made salami or other cold-cuts.
  3. Don't eat cold cuts sliced on a deli counter.
  4. Wear gloves and wash hands after gardening.
  5. Wash all fruits and vegetables.
  6. Wash hands carefully after handling raw meat, fruit, vegetables, and soil do not touch cat feces.