LISTERIA, a common worry amongst pregnant women. On this blog, we discuss what foods you should avoid and we’ve also listed some safer alternatives, to allow you to include some of your favourite foods!


Listeria is a bacterium found in soil, dust, processed foods, raw meat & animal faeces. Listeria can cause a dangerous infection called listeriosis. If Listeria is transmitted to your unborn baby it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or premature labour.



  • Any raw meat
  • Processed meats e.g. salami, prosciutto, ham, hot dogs etc.
  • Raw/smoked seafood, sushi
  • Pate’s
  • Raw eggs


  1. Slice deli meats can be consumed safely if they are heated to 75 degrees (until they are steaming hot) – this will ensure that any Listeria present will be killed off!
  2. Try cooking whole roast meats and then slicing them to enjoy in home made sandwiches/salads! However keep in mind that the leftovers need to be eaten within a few days
  3. Pates that are packaged in cans or pouches that don’t require refrigeration can be safely consumed.
  4. Smoked seafood can be safe by adding them in fully cooked dishes
  5. Sushi – trying making this at home and use only freshly cooked ingredients!


Dairy & Eggs

  • Soft and semi-soft cheese (brie, camembert, ricotta, feta, blue cheese)
  • Soft serve and fried ice-cream
  • Any unpasteurised or raw dairy products (milk, cream, yoghurt, custard)
  • Raw eggs on their own or in uncooked food products such as mayonnaise, aioli, chocolate mousse, cake and pancake batters


  1. You can enjoy your soft cheese BUT they have to be cooked to over 75 degrees Celsius and eaten whilst hot. (e.g. Frittata with feta cheese, quiches, tarts with ricotta etc.)
  2. Store bought custard is a safe alternative when eaten cold. Store in your fridge, reheat to at least 60 degrees Celsius and use within a day of opening. Powdered custard is another safe alternative!
  3. The presence of Listeria in soft serve ice cream is due to poor hygiene and cleaning of the soft serve machines. So we recommend staying away from them for a while. With all the options of hard frozen ice cream or gelato, you should be able to find something to keep you satisfied!
  4. Nearly all-dairy products in Australia are pasteurised!
  5. If you’re a mayo fan, don’t worry – just don’t use any homemade mayonnaise/aioli or restaurant made mayonnaise/aioli. Instead purchase non-refrigerated options. These products use pasteurised eggs!


Fruit & Veg

  • Pre-packaged/pre-prepared salads e.g. fruit salad, salad bar
  • Seed sprouts: Alfalfa sprouts, mung beans, soybean sprouts, radish sprouts, sunflower sprouts and snowpea sprouts


  1. When eating out, ask for cooked vegetables instead of eating from the salad bar. When eating at home, wash all salad ingredients thoroughly, store any leftover salads in the fridge and use within 1 day of preparation. Frozen vegetables are an easier alternative; just make sure they are cooked thoroughly!
  2. Bean sprouts should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked. If you want to include any seed sprouts, cook them over 75 degrees – until steaming hot! (e.g. casserole/stir fry)




  • Always store cold foods below 5 degrees celsius
  • Do not eat foods that are meant to be in fridge if they are left outside for over 2 hours
  • Defrost and marinate foods in the fridge (avoid leaving foods out of the fridge to defrost e.g. in the sink or in a bowl on the bench top!)


  • Cook foods to at least 60 degrees celsius (some foods may require a higher temperature)
  • Reheat foods until steaming hot (over 60 degrees Celsius)
  • Always make sure there is no pink left in cooked meats

Lastly…wash your hands before preparing food, ensure your kitchen bench, equipment and tableware are clean, and always check used by dates!

If you have any other questions related to what you should/shouldn’t be eating during your pregnancy, get in contact with one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians!