Deli meat/Listeria - Hysteria, or . . . ? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So what's the real deal with deli meat? We are travelling to Canada for my grandmother's funeral and the reception will be full of food from the most amazing delicatessen in the world. However, I'm 6 wks pregnant and anxious about eating deli meat.

My friend, who's a med student planning to do an OB/gyn residency, says the threat is almost non-existent.

Is it true that if listeria was present, you would get sick from it, so you'd know you'd been exposed? And would that mean that I've gone my whole life, eaten tons of deli meat, and never been exposed to listeria?

I am perfectly willing to forgo the food, but it has sentimental value, too. I know that sounds silly but our special first meal on every visit was chock full of food from this delicatessen. Also, since it'll be one of the few things served, and this is going to be a *very* small affair (probably no more than 10-15 people), everyone will notice me not eating the meat. Particularly my brother and his wife, who I didn't want to announce my pregnancy to until later. They will never believe me if I claim to be vegetarian now or something.

So if anyone knows how much of a risk deli meat really poses, I would be so grateful. All I know is that the American Pregnancy Association says to avoid it. Thanks!

Julia
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#2 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 05:43 PM
 
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Here is a link to a bunch of info on listeriosis. The interesting thing about listeria is it can be found on raw vegetables but people aren't warned to stay away from those just meats and cheeses.

I ate deli meat with this pregnancy because it was one of the few things I could eat.
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#3 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lyttlewon View Post
Here is a link to a bunch of info on listeriosis. The interesting thing about listeria is it can be found on raw vegetables but people aren't warned to stay away from those just meats and cheeses.

I ate deli meat with this pregnancy because it was one of the few things I could eat.
Thanks for the link! The APA actually does warn about unwashed raw vegetables. And all unpasteurized milk, or soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, and raw meat, and so on. I've been able to make a decision about all the other stuff, it's just the deli meat that's got me .
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#4 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Romana9+2 View Post
Thanks for the link! The APA actually does warn about unwashed raw vegetables. And all unpasteurized milk, or soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, and raw meat, and so on. I've been able to make a decision about all the other stuff, it's just the deli meat that's got me .
Can you heat it? I was under the impression that if you heat turkey or whatever you are fine.
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#5 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, they got me! This page http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~pregnant/whillist.html from the FDA has sufficiently scared my pregnant butt into avoiding the deli meat.

Quote:
Most of the time, pregnant women who are infected with listeriosis don't feel sick. However, they can pass the infection to their unborn babies without even knowing it. That's why prevention of listeriosis is very important. In any case, if you experience any of the above symptoms, see your doctor or health-care provider immediately.

Facts:
Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than other healthy adults.
An estimated 1/3 of all Listeria cases occur in pregnant women.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Maybe we can buy some and freeze it, and I can eat it as a post-partum snack!

Julia
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#6 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can you heat it? I was under the impression that if you heat turkey or whatever you are fine.
I can't. We'll be having the reception at a local church and anyway I don't think the sort of deli meat I'm talking about would be very good heated up. But yes, if you heat it "to steaming" it's okay, so I still let myself have a brat a few times during my last pregnancy.

Julia
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#7 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just checking out the CDC info and I guess it says about 2500 cases a year. That's pretty good, statistically, but I think I may go ahead and stick with paranoia.

Julia
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#8 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 06:01 PM
 
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: I wouldn't worry about it, but then again I drink raw milk, eat raw milk cheese, and don't overcook all of our meat until it's "well done" (of course with grassfed meat one would end up with shoe leather that way).

Then again...I won't eat most of the food produced in industrialized agriculture so that probably has something to do with it.
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#9 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 06:55 PM
 
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I know someone who lost her baby at 38w due to listeria from cheese. Anything that could cause harm to my babe, I stay away from (for the most part - deli meat, cheese, raw veggies, alcohol). I guess for me, if there's a chance, is it really worth it to take any kind of risk?

Jenn
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#10 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 07:05 PM
 
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My personal philosophy is that's there's so much in pregancy that is out of our control, I like to take control of what I can. Right after I got my BFP there was a Listeria recall for a Diestel brand deli turkey. Really high quality stuff.
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#11 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 07:07 PM
 
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I know someone who lost her baby at 38w due to listeria from cheese. Anything that could cause harm to my babe, I stay away from (for the most part - deli meat, cheese, raw veggies, alcohol). I guess for me, if there's a chance, is it really worth it to take any kind of risk?

Jenn
Seriously? No raw veggies??
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#12 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 07:20 PM
 
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I had never heard about the Deli meat/soft cheese thing before I lived in the US
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#13 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 07:27 PM
 
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I have been going back and forth on this. In my first pregnancy I did everything strictly by the book and my best friend happily ate sushi, lunchmeat, etc. with no problems and we both delivered incredibly healthy babies. I know that statistically the chances are pretty darned slim to contract listeria and have it harm the baby. I mean, I think I probably have a higher chance of getting struck by lightning!

I have been heating deli meat thus far but I have to admit I have not met one person in my life who has ever had listeria and I hadn't even heard of it prior to getting pregnant. With that said, I ate a big spoonful of cookie dough the other day and it had raw eggs in it, so there you go.

If you are dying for the deli meat I seriously doubt any harm is going to come to the baby. Is the baby even getting anything through the placenta at 6 weeks? I don't even think there is a placenta functioning at that point, it is the yolk sac, right? So how would the baby get listeria at such an early point in pregnancy?

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#14 of 34 Old 07-13-2007, 09:45 PM
 
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I ate whatever I wanted, when I was wanting it. That includes deli meat(not steaming, yuk!), raw milk, cheese, veggies and juice. I would probably partake in a bit of sushi too if I like raw fish. I don't believe the whole hype about listeria, it is pretty rare.

You must go with your comfort level, but there's nothing like a good deli sandwich...

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#15 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 01:55 AM
 
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My DH works in Public Health and Listeria infections carry a 50% miscarriage rate, according to all of their resources.
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#16 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 02:34 AM
 
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It is a personal choice on whether or not to avoid foods which are a potential listeria risk.

I've known an few women IRL who eat whatever regardlessly as they see the chance as very small.

I personally choose not to eat any foods like cold meats, soft cheese etc as even though the chance is a small one, I don't want to risk the chance that I'd be in the minority that got it and harm my baby. I know that if that ever happened that I and my DH would never be able to forgive myself for it if the worst case scenario happened.

The way I see it, it is only for a short span of time ... 40 weeks.

BTW I eat raw vegetables if I have scrubbed it and washed it with detergent myself or I peel the skin off and washed thoroughly. I now refuse to eat raw vegetables prepared by others as I have no idea how meticulous they are. I had a hamburger the other day thinking that it was hot food, no worries. However the lettuce in the burger still had sand in it so it wasn't washed properly :Puke I threw it away.
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#17 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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I know someone who lost her baby at 38w due to listeria from cheese. Anything that could cause harm to my babe, I stay away from ... I guess for me, if there's a chance, is it really worth it to take any kind of risk?
That's the thing... I think when it comes to Listeria, a lot of people won't believe it until they see it happen. And it's awful when it happens. I don't know if it's different for different women, but there's a lot of pain, tons of blood, and a lost baby at any week of gestation. I choose to stay away from things that could carry listeria as much as possible. It's only 10 months out of my life, I can wait.

That being said, I did have turkey deli meat for lunch a couple of times because it was basically all I was offered and I was in pregnancy desperation. I know it was from a busy market that goes through several turkeys a day, so that makes me feel better that the meat was most likely fresh (enough), but it doesn't stop me from worrying!

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#18 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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I eat deli meat. I don't eat meat that has raw ingredients or mystery meat in it, so I avoid bologna, salami, pepperoni, and stuff like that, but I do eat turkey and roast beef. I also eat soft cheeses since most of them have been made from pasteurized milk.

I don't want my child to live in fear, so I will not expose my child to fear in the womb.

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Originally Posted by Romana9+2 View Post
I was just checking out the CDC info and I guess it says about 2500 cases a year. That's pretty good, statistically, but I think I may go ahead and stick with paranoia.

Julia
That is 2500 cases for the entire population of 330mm people? How many of those are pregnant women? That is such a miniscule chance. Your chances of spontanious abortion are higher than that aren't they? Ok I just looked it up, 1 in 4 women will experience spontanious abortion for no known reason. I don't even understand why listeria is a warning to pregnant women.
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#20 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 03:20 PM
 
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: I wouldn't worry about it, but then again I drink raw milk, eat raw milk cheese, and don't overcook all of our meat until it's "well done" (of course with grassfed meat one would end up with shoe leather that way).
:
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#21 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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The threat does exist. In Colorado their were 2 cases of Listeria out breaks last winter/spring. One was in deli meat from Whole Foods and the other was with a sausage company.
I got some sort of bacteria/viral infection from something I ate last fall and miscarried my first baby. The Dr's refused to culture me saying their was no relation.

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I'm so sorry, Laura. That's awful!

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#23 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 04:22 PM
 
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My DH works in Public Health and Listeria infections carry a 50% miscarriage rate, according to all of their resources.
Okay but how many pregnant women got listeria last year?? The number is quite small.

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#24 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 04:25 PM
 
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That is 2500 cases for the entire population of 330mm people? How many of those are pregnant women? That is such a miniscule chance. Your chances of spontanious abortion are higher than that aren't they? Ok I just looked it up, 1 in 4 women will experience spontanious abortion for no known reason. I don't even understand why listeria is a warning to pregnant women.
I highly doubt the statistics are right. In fact, I would bank my life on it. Not everyone gets tested for listeria unless there's an outbreak of the same illness in the same town or from the same store and even then it's often excused as the flu. There's no way to know how many women miscarry from listeria. The ones who get tested are most likely only those with a raging, late pregnancy infection. There could literally be thousands or millions of miscarriages that are listeria caused over the years and no one knows. How many babies that show symptoms of meningitis after birth are not pinpointed as listeria victims?

http://www.gynob.com/listeria.htm

"The annual incidence of listeriosis decreased by 44% between 1989 and 1993; an analysis of the incidence trend from 1996 to 2002 revealed a 38% decline. However, outbreaks continue to occur. In 2002, an outbreak that resulted in 54 illnesses, 8 deaths, and 3 fetal deaths in 9 states was traced to consumption of contaminated turkey meat. " http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/disea...teriosis_t.htm

I'm so disturbed by the comparison between spontaneous abortion with listeria. One can be prevented by simply watching your diet for a few months. If the statistic was you, there would most likely be a much different answer.

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#25 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 05:11 PM
 
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There is an interesting list of listeria recalls here: http://www.pritzkerlaw.com/Listeria_Recalls/Index.aspx that include plenty of things I've not heard mentioned in lists of foods to avoid... packaged salads, precooked chicken, sliced mushrooms, hummus, various sprouts, precut fruit, smoothies... I've also read somewhere that you should avoid soft serve icecreams, yogurts, milkshakes from a machine... etc.
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There is an interesting list of listeria recalls here: http://www.pritzkerlaw.com/Listeria_Recalls/Index.aspx that include plenty of things I've not heard mentioned in lists of foods to avoid... packaged salads, precooked chicken, sliced mushrooms, hummus, various sprouts, precut fruit, smoothies... I've also read somewhere that you should avoid soft serve icecreams, yogurts, milkshakes from a machine... etc.
And while you're at it, you should probably not eat at all, because food is DANGEROUS!!! :

I get that listeria is out there, and it's dangerous if you catch it, but I hate all the fear-mongering that is done to pregnant women. If you're nervous about listeria, then don't eat any food that you don't prepare yourself. Heat all food to steaming before you eat it, check that all your juices, milk, and cheeses are pasteurized, and wash and peel all your fruits and veggies. Personally, that's too much work for me, so I'm careful about what my sources are for food and drink, I avoid prepackaged food that has never been cooked or pasteurized, and I let go and let God.

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#27 of 34 Old 07-14-2007, 11:06 PM
 
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Okay but how many pregnant women got listeria last year?? The number is quite small.

I was simply providing information about the statistical risk pertaining to those that contract Listeria, not commenting on how many women contract this annually.

However, in this area there has been a large number of miscarriages due to listeria. That is how public health became involved. I am not at liberty to publicly post exactly why or where the listeria outbreaks happened since I am not sure if that is public record, but they were big enough to trace back to the sources through the miscarriages.
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#28 of 34 Old 07-15-2007, 11:40 AM
 
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Someone said something about the freshness of the turkey; listeria is a food preparation thing, not a freshness thing. It can be on the meat slicer and the countertops, so even if the meat is fresh, if it comes into contact with the contaminated surface(s), it'll have listeria on it.

I read that women in their third trimester are at a higher risk than any other trimester, because the immune system is depressed more at that point.

I tried roasting my own turkey and beef and then slicing them for sandwiches. It was definitely not the same as deli meat, but I'm too paranoid this time around to take the (miniscule) risk.
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#29 of 34 Old 07-15-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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i think it's too dangerous, because they are usually not heated enough. i read in fit pregnancy that women who are pregnant are much (20x) more likely to get sick from eating the same meat as non-pregnant people. I also read some very disturbing stuff about listeriosis in what's going on in there, by l. eliot, which is generally a very scientific, evidence-based, non-alarmist text.
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#30 of 34 Old 07-15-2007, 11:56 PM
 
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This may be an odd question, but I would really like to eat turkey deli meat sometimes (apparently the baby wants it or something ) and I wonder if I can heat ot to steaming and then cool it again for a sandwhich. I wouldn't like it heated, you know?

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