Is Unpasteurized Juice Safe During Pregnancy?
Is it safe to drink unpasteurized juice while pregnant?
You might wonder what sort of crazy person would tell a pregnant woman she can’t have her beloved carrot, wheatgrass and apple smoothie. Unfortunately, unless you know exactly how the otherwise wholesome ingredients were prepared and if they were pasteurized, the pros say you should pass.
Pasteurization is a process that involves heating at a specific temperature for a set amount of time to help kill harmful bacteria. Unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices can carry disease-causing bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, which can not only make you sick but can also occasionally be passed on to your baby. Even a seemingly healthy glass of fresh-squeezed juice at the farmers market or a friend’s pool party can pose a threat if the fruits or veggies weren’t washed properly. While the odds of serious complications, including meningitis after baby’s birth, are rare, why chance it? Pasteurized juices are fine, and if you’re craving the fresh stuff, make your own. The FDA recommends thoroughly rinsing raw fruits and vegetables under running water (no soap!) before preparing them, especially fruits with a thick, inedible peel (like melons — yes, even though you don’t eat the peel). Use a vegetable brush for a thorough job, and cut out any bruised or damaged areas, since bacteria like to hang out there.
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