If you’re expecting, chances are you’re on the lookout for anything that might harm your baby. This involved cutting all sorts of things out of your diet, from rare meats to soft cheeses. One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re eating safely is to thoroughly cook all of your meats. But knowing how well-done your cooking should be can get confusing. How hot does food need to be to kill toxoplasmosis, for instance? Because that’s one nasty infection that no one needs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, toxoplasmosis is a disease that can cause extreme health complications in pregnant women, and it may be contracted by consuming infected and undercooked meat. The potential complications to your fetus are scary. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, toxoplasmosis may lead to stillbirth or miscarriage. Although it is still relatively rare for pregnant women to experience these complications, it’s completely understandable if you want to avoid anything that could harm your baby. Especially when the solution is just eating well-done meat for a few months, you’re likely to take every precaution. It’s time to break out the meat thermometers and make sure you’re getting those hot dishes to the safest temperatures.
According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), pork is the most likely carrier for the ingestion of toxoplasmosis in the United States. This is because beef has only rarely been infected with T. gondii, and poultry is usually well-cooked anyway. As further explained by the NCDA&CS, you can kill toxoplasma by heating meats to 152 degrees Fahrenheit. And according to the Center for Food Security & Public Health, T. gondii will be killed when exposed to these temperatures for at least ten minutes (boiling water will also do the trick.) So if you’re craving pork chops, then it’s smart to make sure your meats get to the right internal temperature for at least ten minutes to be on the safe side.