Tommy's PregnancyHub

Tips for food safety

Food hygiene is important for everyone but it’s particularly good to be careful how you prepare, handle and store food now you’re pregnant.

Food-related illness, such as food poisoning, can be serious in pregnancy. You can cut down the risk by following some easy tips when you're making meals and snacks.

Quick checklist to help you stay safe around food

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling food, whether you're preparing it or eating it.
  • If you are preparing food wash your hands after blowing your nose, helping young children blow their nose, going to the toilet, or handling pets.
  • Keep all pets away from your food.
  • Wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly, including packaged salad
  • Use a separate chopping board to prepare raw meat.
  • Wash your hands and all surfaces and utensils carefully after preparing raw meat.
  • Keep raw and cooked food separate in your fridge. Put raw meat at the bottom of the fridge so that it can't drip onto cooked food.
  • Make sure you cook raw chicken thoroughly to kill any bacteria that could cause food poisoning.
  • Heat leftover food until it's piping hot.
  • Only reheat food once.
  • Allow food to defrost completely before cooking it, unless the instructions on the pack tell you to cook it from frozen.
  • Check the 'use by' dates on food packs to make sure the food is safe to eat.
  • Keep your fridge temperature at between 0˚C and 5˚C. It's a good idea to use a fridge thermometer to be sure.
  • Avoid nibbling on food that's been sitting around at room temperature for a long time (at a buffet, for instance), as bacteria can grow quickly and could make you ill.

Find out about more good foods to eat when pregnant.

Super tip

Don't wash raw chicken before you cook it! Any germs will be killed as it is cooked. Washing it can splash harmful bacteria around your kitchen.

  1. PHE (2014) Dangers of eating undercooked chicken, press release

  2. NHS Choices [accessed 27 June 2017] How to prepare and cook food safely (Page last reviewed: 28/11/2014. Next review due: 31/05/2017)

Review dates

Last reviewed: 27 June, 2017
Next review: 27 June, 2020