Bacon is a beloved food by many, and it’s not uncommon for pregnant women to crave it.
But with all the warnings about listeria and food safety during pregnancy, you might be wondering if it’s safe to indulge in that leftover cold cooked bacon in your fridge.
In this article, we’ll explore the question of whether or not you can eat cold cooked bacon when pregnant.
We’ll cover the risks of listeria, the importance of proper cooking and storage, and provide some helpful tips for satisfying your bacon cravings while keeping you and your baby safe.
So let’s dive in!
Can You Eat Cold Cooked Bacon When Pregnant?
The short answer is yes, you can eat cold cooked bacon when pregnant. However, there are some important factors to consider before indulging in this delicious treat.
First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that the bacon is fully cooked before consuming it. This means that it should be heated until hot, whether it’s fresh or leftover. Pregnant women should avoid cold bacon that has not been fully cooked, as it can increase the risk of listeria.
Listeria is a type of bacteria that can cause serious illness in pregnant women, as well as those with compromised immune systems. It’s commonly found in processed meats like bacon, so it’s important to take extra precautions when consuming these types of foods during pregnancy.
If you’re buying packaged cooked bacon, make sure to refrigerate it at 40°F or below immediately after bringing it home. When you open packaged bacon, it’s exposed to the surrounding environment, which can introduce bacteria. Therefore, it’s best to reheat the product before consuming it to kill any potential bacteria.
If you’ve made your own bacon instead of buying it from a deli or similar place, it’s safer to eat it cold if you like. However, make sure to store it properly in the fridge and consume it within a day.
It’s also important to note that while cold cooked bacon is safe to eat during pregnancy, moderation is key. Consuming large amounts of bacon or other processed meats can increase the risk of health issues for both you and your baby.
Understanding The Risks Of Listeria During Pregnancy
Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods like processed meats, including bacon, as well as dairy products and produce harvested from soil contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of contracting listeria than non-pregnant healthy adults. Listeriosis, the illness caused by ingesting Listeria, can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby.
Listeria can cross the placenta and cause serious problems for the baby, including miscarriage, premature labor, low birth weight, and infant death. If the fetus is infected with Listeria during the late stages of pregnancy, they may develop a wide range of health problems like intellectual disability, paralysis, seizures, blindness, or impairments of the brain, heart, or kidney. In newborns, Listeria can cause blood infections and meningitis.
The symptoms of listeriosis can take a few days or even weeks to appear and may include fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea or upset stomach, headache, stiff neck, confusion, and loss of balance. Pregnant women who are infected with listeriosis may not feel sick but can pass the infection to their unborn babies without even knowing it.
To prevent listeriosis during pregnancy, it’s important to avoid high-risk foods like unpasteurized milk and milk products or foods made with unpasteurized milk, deli meats and hot dogs unless they are reheated until steaming hot before consumption. Pregnant women should also avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk like feta, brie, and blue cheese.
While cold cooked bacon is safe to eat during pregnancy if it’s fully cooked and stored properly, it’s still important to be aware of the risks associated with listeria. Always make sure to cook bacon until it’s steaming hot and avoid consuming it in excess. Additionally, pregnant women should take extra precautions when consuming other high-risk foods to protect themselves and their unborn babies from listeria.
Proper Cooking And Storage Of Bacon
When it comes to cooking and storing bacon, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure that it’s safe to eat, especially during pregnancy.
Firstly, it’s important to cook bacon until it’s fully done. This means that it should be heated until hot, with no pink or red spots remaining. Undercooked bacon can increase the risk of listeria and other harmful bacteria, which can be especially dangerous during pregnancy.
Once cooked, it’s best to let the bacon cool on paper towels to absorb any excess grease. After that, it should be stored properly to maintain its freshness and safety.
If you plan on consuming the bacon within the next five days, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. However, if you need to store the bacon for longer, it’s best to freeze it. Cooked bacon can be frozen for up to six weeks if wrapped in paper towels and then placed in a zip-top bag.
When reheating cooked bacon, make sure to undercook it slightly from your desired level of doneness. This will prevent it from becoming overcooked when reheating. You can reheat bacon in a hot pan for about a minute or in the microwave for around 30 seconds, depending on the wattage of your microwave.
It’s also important to note that slab bacon should be tightly wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for several weeks, depending on its freshness when purchased. However, freezing slab bacon is not recommended as the salt tends to make the fat turn rancid quickly.
Tips For Satisfying Your Bacon Cravings Safely During Pregnancy
If you’re craving bacon during your pregnancy, there are ways to satisfy your cravings safely. Here are some tips:
1. Crumble bacon onto soups or salads to get the tasty flavor without making it the bulk of the meal.
2. Rather than eating processed ready-made bacon bits or similar, make your own by cooking bacon until crispy then blitzing it for a few seconds in a food processor (or chop it finely). You’ll be surprised how many crumbles you can get out of one or two slices.
3. One of my favorite healthy diet is bacon crumbles over smashed avocado on wholemeal toast. Delicious.
4. Rather than eating strips of bacon on their own or with other fried food like eggs, use bacon to wrap healthier items like green bean or asparagus in bundles, a chargrilled eggplant slice, or roasted peppers, for example.
5. If it’s just the smoky, meaty taste you’re craving, then turkey or chicken bacon substitutes can do the job. They are still a salty processed product but they’re slightly lower in fat and calories than pork bacon. It should also be heated until hot.