Hot dogs can be eaten during pregnancy to satisfy your cravings, but you should take some precautions while consuming them. They can become contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that can cause serious health problems for you and your baby.
Tips for Prevention
There are many brands and hot dog variations to satisfy even the pickiest taste buds. Companies are careful and take the necessary precautions to prevent the contamination of their facilities and products with listeria, but outbreaks can still occur. The only guaranteed ways to kill the bacteria is through cooking and pasteurization. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science found microwaving hot dogs placed in a dish of water for 75 seconds killed the listeria germs present, particularly if the hot dogs contained the preservatives potassium lactate and sodium diacetate. Popular frankfurter brands, such as Oscar Mayer Weiner and Hebrew National Beef, often contain similar preservatives. Read ingredients to ensure they have these ingredients.
If you're having any fears or uncertainties about your favorite snack, you can delay eating hot dogs until giving birth. If however, a hot dog is the only thing that will satisfy your hunger, there are a number of strategies you can implement to help fend off contamination:
- Don't eat hot dogs or other lunch or deli meats unless they have been heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until they are steaming hot just before they are served.
- If you find yourself in a location where your dogs can't be reheated, don't eat them.
- Don't let juice from hot dog get on other foods, eating utensils, or food preparation surfaces.
- Always wash hands after handling hot dogs and other meats including lunch and deli meats.
- Wash your food preparation surfaces with warm, soapy water to sanitize them.
- Keep your refrigerator clean and at set the temperature to 40 degrees or colder and your freezer at 0 degrees or colder.
If pregnancy has got you are hungering for a hot dog, make sure you take the proper precautions when cooking and storing your food to protect your health and the health of your unborn child.