As a pregnant woman, you’re likely concerned about what foods are safe to eat and what to avoid. One food that may be on your mind is deer sausage.
While it can be a delicious and protein-packed option, there are some risks associated with consuming it during pregnancy. In this article, we’ll explore the safety of eating deer sausage while pregnant and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
So, let’s dive in and find out if deer sausage is a safe choice for you and your growing baby.
Can You Eat Deer Sausage While Pregnant?
The short answer is yes, you can eat deer sausage while pregnant, but with some important caveats.
First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that the deer sausage is cooked thoroughly. This means that it should reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (73.9°C) to eliminate any harmful bacteria that may be present.
It’s also important to note that if the deer was hunted using lead ammunition, it may not be safe for pregnant women or children to consume. Lead can be harmful to developing fetuses and young children, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid deer sausage that may have been contaminated with lead.
Additionally, deer sausage (like all cured meats) carries a risk of harboring E. coli and other harmful bacteria. While the use of salt and other ingredients does help to kill off bacteria, high-risk individuals (such as pregnant women and young children) are best off sticking to heat-treated meats.
The Nutritional Benefits Of Deer Sausage During Pregnancy
While there are some potential risks associated with consuming deer sausage during pregnancy, it’s worth noting that there are also some nutritional benefits to be gained.
Deer meat is generally lean and high in protein, which is essential for the growth and development of the baby’s muscles and tissues. A 3.5-ounce serving of venison supplies approximately 30% of the daily recommended intake of protein for pregnant women.
In addition to protein, venison is also a good source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Iron is particularly important during pregnancy as it helps prevent preterm birth and strengthens maternal functions such as fighting infections. Zinc is crucial for a healthy immune system and can help prevent issues such as pre-term or post-term birth, low birth weight, and hypertension. B vitamins work to produce and release energy in the cells, which is essential for meeting the increased energy demands of pregnancy.
While there are other sources of protein and nutrients that may be safer for pregnant women to consume, deer sausage (when properly cooked) can be a healthy addition to a well-rounded pregnancy diet. As with any food choice during pregnancy, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure you’re making the best choices for you and your growing baby.
Potential Risks Of Eating Deer Sausage While Pregnant
While deer sausage can be a tasty treat, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with eating it during pregnancy. One of the main concerns is the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be transmitted through undercooked or raw meat. Deer meat is one of the meats that has an increased risk of contamination with Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis.
Toxoplasmosis can cause flu-like symptoms in pregnant women, but it can also be asymptomatic. However, if left untreated, it can have devastating effects on the baby. The parasite can be transmitted from mother to baby and result in seizures, infections of the eye, enlarged spleen and/or liver, jaundice, hearing loss, mental disability, and even stillbirth or preterm delivery. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that any deer sausage consumed during pregnancy is cooked completely to the recommended internal temperature to eliminate any bacteria or parasites that may be present.
Another safety concern with deer sausage is the type of pellet used to kill the animal. If lead ammunition was used, it may not be safe for pregnant women or children to consume. Lead can be harmful to developing fetuses and young children and can cause serious health problems.
Lastly, deer sausage (like all cured meats) may harbor E. coli and other harmful bacteria. While the use of salt and other ingredients does help to kill off bacteria, high-risk individuals (such as pregnant women and young children) are best off sticking to heat-treated meats.
How To Safely Prepare And Consume Deer Sausage
When it comes to preparing and consuming deer sausage, there are several steps you can take to ensure that it is safe for consumption, especially during pregnancy. Here are some guidelines to follow:
1. Marinate the venison under refrigeration (40°F or less). Avoid reusing marinades and make sure to thoroughly wash and rinse all surfaces and utensils used for raw meat preparation prior to use on cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
2. Trim visible fat from the deer sausage to reduce the “gamey” flavor, and add alternative sources for moisture and flavor while cooking (such as butter, bacon, beef fat, sweet or sour cream, cooking oils, water, or marinades).
3. When cooking deer sausage, make sure to heat it thoroughly until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (73.9°C). This can be done by grilling, air-frying, or smoking the sausage.
4. If you’re unsure whether the deer sausage is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the sausage to get an accurate reading.
5. If you’re using a smoker to cook your deer sausage, make sure to preheat it to a medium-high temperature and then reduce the heat to a low level. Let the sausages cook for at least two hours, ensuring that the temperature never goes above 180°F (82.2°C).
6. If you’re pregnant or have a weakened immune system, it’s best to avoid eating deer sausage that has not been heat-treated. Heat-treated meats are less likely to harbor harmful bacteria such as E. coli.
By following these guidelines, you can safely prepare and consume deer sausage during pregnancy or any other time. Remember that proper cooking and handling techniques are key to ensuring that your food is safe and healthy for consumption.
Alternatives To Deer Sausage For Pregnant Women
If you’re a pregnant woman who loves the taste of sausage but wants to avoid deer sausage, there are plenty of alternatives available. It’s important to choose sausages made from meats that are safe for pregnant women to consume, such as pork, beef, chicken, and turkey.
Battered sausages (deep-fried sausages in batter) are safe to eat as long as they are cooked all the way through with no pink in the middle. However, it’s best to limit your intake of fatty, fried foods during pregnancy.
Turkey and chicken sausages are no different from other meat sausages when it comes to safety during pregnancy. Vegetarian sausages made from tofu or other plant-based ingredients are also safe to eat as long as they are fully cooked or steaming hot before consumption.
Liver sausage (also known as liverwurst) may need to be avoided during pregnancy due to its high levels of vitamin A. Women in the UK are advised to avoid liver products altogether, while those in the USA and Australia are not.
Breakfast sausages (links or patties) are safe if fully cooked and served hot. They often come frozen before preparation, so make sure they are cooked all the way through.
Hot and spicy sausages are also safe to eat if cooked thoroughly. The spiciness of the sausage has no bearing on its safety during pregnancy.
Pickled sausages should be heated before eating to ensure their safety. While pickling inhibits bacterial growth, it cannot be ruled out entirely.
Vienna sausages or canned/tinned sausages should be heated until steaming hot before consumption, just like hot dogs.
Sausages named after their origin (such as Polish or Italian sausage) should be treated like all other sausages and heated until hot.
Smoked sausages should also be heated up before serving to make them safe. Some may need to be cooked through rather than merely heated up if they are still smoked but raw.
Nduja is a spicy, soft spreadable salami that is only safe if heated up. It can be added to pasta sauce for a delicious meal.
Blood sausage (also known as black pudding) is safe in pregnancy if heated up until hot like other sausages. It’s also a great source of iron depending on the manufacturer.