Eating out might be an enjoyable experience for your family, but as a pregnant mum recently found out in China, you might want to stay at home for meals, noting the list of food to avoid when pregnant (provided later), which definitely includes dead rats.
A Dinner Not for the Faint Hearted
A pregnant woman who ate out at Xiabu Xiabu, a hotpot restaurant in China’s Shandong province, experienced a repulsive dining experience.
On September 6, she had just started on her meal when she received a shock. Her next hotpot catch appeared to a boiled, and very dead, rat.
Her husband, Mr Ma, notified the staff. The restaurant staff’s shocking response, as reported by Kankan News, a media company in Shanghai, was, “If you are worried about the baby, then we’ll give you 20,000 yuan to abort it.”
The couple dining in Xiabu XIabu had a nasty, unwanted guest in their meal | Image source: BBC
Pictures of the dreadful experience soon found its way online. Many netizens were repulsed by the images, with one Weibo user saying, “I feel like vomiting. I’m never going to eat hotpot outside again.”
Other users were incensed at the staff’s lack of accountability. One user remarked, “If something happens to her baby, how are they going to compensate her? Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?”
Investigators then inspected the restaurant promptly, but no rats were reported to have been found. Inspectors did discover that not all of the restaurant’s suppliers possessed the right qualifications, though.
Meanwhile the restaurant in question – Xiabu Xiabu – released a statement on Spetember 8, saying that the restaurant has “always placed great emphasis on food security and would make any necessary improvements.”
It wasn’t long after that local authorities probed the Shandong outlet, and closed it down.
The outlet had also allegedly proposed to compensate the frightened couple with 5,000 yuan. However, Mr Ma declined as he preferred that his wife undergo a full body checkup before finalising how much they should be compensated.
Food to Avoid When Pregnant: The List
Mums, it goes without saying that protecting your unborn baby means limiting certain things in your diet even at home. But as this mum’s experience shows us, be cautious when dining away from home too.
You never know how certain meals can affect your baby’s health, because pregnancy weakens your immune system, making you more more susceptible to parasites and other food-borne bacteria.
Here’s a comprehensive list we’ve collated from our past articles so that you’ll know what to avoid.
- Unripe or semi-ripe papayas
Always ensure that you drink pasteurised milk while you’re pregnant, mums! | Image source: stock photo
Food that May Have Pathogens and Bacteria
- unpasteurized products made from raw milk
- Soft and blue-veined cheese such as camembert, brie, feta and stilton
- Potato salad or coleslaw
- All pâtes (including vegetable ones)
- Unpasteurised juice
- Deli meat
Certain fish and shellfish are high in mercury, which can damage your fetus’ nervous system. Older and bigger fish like the ones below generally have more mercury:
- King Mackerel
Other types of seafood that you should avoid include:
- raw /uncooked fish and shellfish (including sushi)
- refrigerated smoked seafood
Meat and Eggs
Cooking through meat and eggs is fine. The danger lies in the bacteria that linger around in undercooked meat and eggs. Here’s a list of the food which could be made of undercooked meat or eggs:
- raw or soft-boiled eggs, including products that contain it, like mayonnaise
- raw poultry and red meat; meat and poultry should be consumed after being cooked thoroughly without any pink areas
- meat or meat based foods in buffets and barbecues
- processed meats such as burgers, hotdogs and deli meats (only eat these when they are well-cooked)
For pregnant mums, eggs and all other forms of meat – chicken, fish and poultry – need to be fully cooked through before you eat them. | Image Source: Stock Photo
- Peanuts should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding, especially if there is a family history of allergies such as asthma, eczema or hayfever.
- Alcohol. There isn’t a “safe” level for drinking alcohol during pregnancy; even moderate alcohol consumption may effect the development of your baby’s brain
- Liver, liver products or foods that contain liver (such as fish liver oil)
- Vitamin supplements. Do check with your doctor if your multivitamins contain a safe level of Vitamin A, just in case.
- Caffeinated products, like coffee, tea, or soda. The American Pregnancy Association says that “the less caffeine you consume, the better. But if you must, drinking a moderate amount (150mg to 300mg a day) is enough. 300mg of caffeine is roughly the same as:
- 3 mugs of instant coffee,
- 3 cups of brewed coffee,
- 6 cups of tea,
- 8 cans of regular cola, or
- 8 standard bars of chocolate.
The Key Is to Eat in Moderation
It’s okay to eat a bit here and there but do try to avoid eating these foods in the future. The foods listed above may contain harmful bacteria, environmental pollutants or toxins that could risk adversely affecting health of your baby.
Remember, every woman’s body is different and different people react to different foods. If you think that you may be affected by a genetic condition or are in doubt, always seek the advice of your doctor regarding specific foods to avoid.
References: AsiaOne, BBC, Sky News
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