Can you eat mortadella when pregnant?

In this article we are going to answer: can you eat mortadella when pregnant, what is mortadella, is it healthy to eat mortadella and how can you add mortadella to your healthy diet.

Can you eat mortadella when pregnant?

Yes, you can eat mortadella when pregnant as long as it has been cooked thoroughly. In 2003 there was an outbreak of listeriosis from eating mortadella, so caution needs to be taken. 

Vacuum-packed is usually safe to eat but you can cook it up to 160 F to prevent food poisoning. The NHS recommends that processed meat such as mortadella, roast beef, and turkey breast should be heated until steaming hot to be safe when pregnant. 

What is mortadella?

Mortadella is a type of large Italian sausage or luncheon meat. It is made from finely minced or ground heat-cured pork. It incorporates at least 15% of small cubes of pork fat. Traditionally it is flavored with black pepper grains but it can also include pistachios or myrtle berries. 

The most known mortadella is Mortadella Bologna but other varieties are made across Italy that include different types of meats. Mortadella Bologna means it is produced in Emilia-Romagna in Italy. 

Mortadella tastes like rich, fatty pork with accents of spices and pistachio. It has a silky mouthfeel and hearty texture.

Mortadella is usually compared to bologna. The main difference is how they are produced and their flavor. Bologna can be bland by comparison and has a less silky texture. 

Is it healthy to eat mortadella?

Mortadella is considered high-fat processed meat that should be eaten in moderation. 2 slices of 57 grams contains 110 calories, 8 grams of fat, 420 grams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 31.5 mg of vitamin C and 9 grams of protein. 

It has too much sodium and fat. Even if it is a good source of vitamin C and protein, mortadella should be eaten in moderation and once in a while. 

Eating processed meats like mortadella has been linked to an increase in colon cancer and heart disease because they contain nitrites and nitrates. 

What is the risk of eating mortadella?

If you eat mortadella that has not been cooked fully or you didn’t reheat after being cooked, there is a risk of food poisoning. According to the FDA, mortadella can be contaminated with listeria after being processed and packaged at the plant. You need to reheat and cook it always. 

Although nowadays it’s very difficult to catch an infection, mortadella is a risk. The three main diseases you can contract if you eat mortadella are toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and listeriosis. 

Listeria monocytogenes are the main bacteria that can be found in mortadella. It causes listeriosis. If you let the bacteria go too far, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and other health problems. 

According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately 2,5000 people will get infected with listeria every year.

It means that it’s very rare to get infected but pregnant women are in a more delicate condition and need to be a little more careful because it could lead to fatal health conditions. 

Toxoplasma Gondii is the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. For a normal, healthy person, it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms but for pregnant women, it’s too risky, it can cause serious health problems.  One important thing to add is that once you contract toxoplasmosis you can’t contract it again. 

Salmonella is a bacteria that can be very dangerous in pregnant women. It also causes digestive symptoms like the other pathogens listed above. One important thing about salmonella is that it can cause bacteremia, a condition where there is bacteria in the blood and can be fatal to pregnant women. 

So why are pregnant women more likely to get infected? Because their immune system is compromised and does not work as well as for a healthy person. Also, remember that while the baby is not fully developed, the baby it’s at risk too. 

Symptoms include

  • Náusea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills and fevers
  • Muscle pain
  • In pregnant women, it may cause flu-like symptoms with fever and chills 

How can you add mortadella to your healthy diet?

Mortadella can be used in cheese boards with other meats, cheese, fruit bread, and condiments. It can be part of your delicious cold sandwich or hot panini or bagel. It can also be a good addition to pasta dishes or stuffed ravioli. 

You can find some Italian meatballs that include mortadella in their recipe. Mortadella gives extra flavor. Here is a recipe for mortadella meatballs with pistachio pesto. 

To be safe you need to heat your mortadella to at least 160 F, you can use a thermometer or wait until it is steaming hot. You can use

  • Oven: bake mortadella for about 10 minutes at over 160 F. 
  • Boil: boil for about 2 to 3 minutes until is steaming hot
  • Use a microwave: it is not the best option but heat mortadella for about a minute or two. Use a thermometer to be sure it is over 160 F  inside. 
  • Use a grill: just make sure that is over 160 F inside. 

Other FAQs about Sausages that you may be interested in.

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Can you cook hotdogs in the air fryer?

Can you cook brats in the air fryer?

Can you cook breakfast sausage in the oven?


This article answered can you eat mortadella when pregnant, what is mortadella, is it healthy to eat mortadella and how can you add mortadella to your healthy diet.