Is it safe to eat deli meat during pregnancy?

Updated: Mar 20

Women have often wondered if deli meat is safe for consumption during pregnancy, or if they are free to eat any meat without fear of putting the baby at risk. These days, before eating anything, they’d rather ask if it’s safe or not. So, is it safe to eat deli meat during pregnancy?


Deli meat is safe to eat during pregnancy albeit with some precaution. Deli meats otherwise known as lunchmeat refer to meats that have been cooked, sliced and prepared for making sandwiches or any other light food.

These meats can either be whole meats, processed meat, formed meat or sectioned meat. The whole meats are those that have been cut, cooked and sliced in preparation for being sold. The sectioned meat are pieces of meat joined together to make a whole piece while the processed meats are those made from by-product meats. Want to know more about eating deli meats while pregnant?

Are Deli Meat Safe to eat when Pregnant?

Deli meat is so common that everyone must have had a taste of it. Pregnant women would probably think they are normal meat that does not need to be certified before they are eaten. Because deli meat is often precooked before being sold in sandwiches or sausage rolls, we do not know how high the temperature was in cooking it. We are also not sure of the environmental hygiene that was set in place when producing it, which is why pregnant women need to be careful when eating deli meats.

The FDA has stated that improperly cooked meat could cause listeria in pregnant women and they might transfer it to the fetus which may lead to serious pregnancy complications and even death. The tricky thing about listeria is that it has no symptoms and as a result, most women would not even be aware that they have an infection but that wouldn’t stop it from being transferred to their babies.

Babies that were infected with listeriosis while in the womb tend to develop congenital disabilities such as paralysis, heart impairment, intellectual disability, blindness, seizures and many other shortcomings later in life.

Safe ways of eating deli meat during pregnancy.

You can prevent Listeria infection by killing the bacteria through pasteurization or cooking it. There are also some food additives that can be sprayed on meats for listeria prevention before packaging them.

It is advised that you avoid eating deli meat if you can, to prevent causing harm to the baby.

You will need to be cautious of whatever you eat during pregnancy because sometimes, your mind might not even go to what you are eating especially if you are extremely hungry, or you have a strong craving for a particular food. You should probably make your partner, friends or any relative close to you be accountable for you and watch whatever you put in your mouth. No measure is too far from ensuring the baby comes out safe.