FDA: What pregnant women shouldn't eat

March 30, 2012 at 4:34 PM

WASHINGTON, March 30 (UPI) -- Pregnant women need to take special precautions when eating at a restaurant or a fast-food place because their immune system is weakened, U.S. officials say.

Officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advise pregnant women to not eat anywhere that isn't clean.

"When eating out, look at your surroundings before you even sit down. If it's not clean, you should consider eating somewhere else," the FDA said in a statement. "Also, make sure you wash your hands with soap and warm water before eating. If soap and water aren't available, use alcohol-based wipes or gel formulas to clean your hands."

In addition, always request that food be cooked thoroughly, a hot meal should be piping hot. If it's lukewarm, send it back, the FDA advised.

The FDA suggested pregnant women shouldn't eat:

-- Raw fish such as sushi or sashimi, which might contain parasites or bacteria. Don't eat raw or undercooked finfish or shellfish including oysters, clams and mussels.

-- Swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and shark because of methylmercury that can harm an unborn baby.

-- Raw sprouts of any kind including alfalfa, clover and radish.

-- Freshly squeezed juice sold by the glass, at some juice bars, might not be pasteurized or otherwise treated to ensure their safety. Pregnant women and young children should avoid all unpasteurized juices.

-- Raw or undercooked eggs found in Caesar salad dressing, custards and some sauces.

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