Thursday, January 26, 2012


One of the risks that pregnant women need to avoid most in their food is the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. They are more susceptible to getting Listeriosis, and if they do, this illness during pregnancy can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and health problems in the newborn.

Pre-packaged (ready-to-eat -RTE) sandwiches are one of the food most likely to carry this bacterium. If you don't believe RTE sandwiches should be on your "don't eat" list during pregnancy, think of some of the recalls during the last few months in the United States. Let's start with now.

M.E. Thompson, Inc. of FLorida has just recalled its Anytime Deli Turkey & Ham Sub Sandwich, UPC 0543200194, with an expiration date of January 19th and January 22nd because Listeria monocytogenes bacteria have turned up in them. (By the way, they were sent to convenience stores in Florida and South Georgia already on January 2nd and 3rd!).

Flying Food Group’s Lawrenceville, GA facility recalled at least seven kinds of sandwiches - plus other RTE foods in late November and December 2011 because of Listeria bacteria. They were sold at Race Trac and at Starbucks, as well as at Core-Mark stores. There have been many other similar recalls over the years, and several sandwich-makers have had to fold because of this bacterium (see next post).

And don't think it is just a U.S. problem. Pregnant women in all industrialized countries should beware. At the end of last October, Federal health officials in Canada warned the public to avoid eating Hygaard Mini Sub sandwiches because of possible Listeria contamination. They were widely sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nunavut and Yukon Territories.

The UK has had several alerts over the years on pre-packaged sandwiches because of Listeria bacteria. Some of these were sold to schools and hospitals. In 2011 a number of Listeriosis illnesses in London were found to have a common link in pre-packaged sandwiches served at hospitals. It is the same story in other countries.

If you want to eat sandwiches while pregnant, make your own. If using deli meat - heat it until it is "re-cooked" and then put it on your sandwich. Or how about a meat-ball sandwich or a cooked mushroom and spinach one? There are many alternatives that avoid deli meats and cheese. But whatever you do avoid those pre-packaged ones. Your child's life could depend on it.

To your good health,


1 comment:

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