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  • Writer's pictureAliya

Avocados are Being Recalled for Listeria and I Give Up

So much of pregnancy is fear. Will the baby be OK? Will I be able to handle the labor? Why is everyone telling me I’ll never sleep again? Will I ever get my body back? Can I eat this turkey sandwich?

Hit rewind and repeat and you’ve successfully placed yourself in a pregnant woman’s shoes (at least me as a pregnant woman, that is). There’s so much out there telling you what you should and shouldn’t wear, do, drink, and eat.

Sure, everyone knows you can’t polish off bottles of wine and dine at your local sushi restaurant during the nine months of gestation, but what most people can’t appreciate is that there is so much more considered off-limits for moms to be: anything unpasteurized (whether it’s a delicious, fresh cheese or a smoothie from Jamba Juice), cold sandwich meats, pre-cut fruits, and prepared salads. Why? So glad you asked. Because: Listeria.

Listeria is a foodborne bacterial illness that is pretty much harmless for most people, but very dangerous for pregnant women and others with compromised immune systems. And supposedly, it’s more likely to be found in unpasteurized food items and processed meats more than other things. So however badly I may have craved a cold turkey sandwich with extra mayo during my pregnancy, I steered clear.

But that didn’t absolve me of my fear. Pretty soon, I was reading headlines about listeria being found in ice cream, and then chickpea snacks and frozen veggies, and it didn’t take long for me to look at everything I ate with a veil of suspicion. Who cooked this? Was it hot enough for the bacteria to be gone? WHO COOKED THIS?

And while I’m no longer pregnant, today’s announcement that avocados are being recalled because of listeria concerns gave me unwanted flashbacks to my pregnancy days of warily eating veggie sandwiches during an office meeting: nothing is safe.

So, should we give up? What’s the point of stringently adhering to a set of guidelines that are modified every time a corporation admits that their food is tainted? Et tu, Brute? Or should I say, Et tu, avocado farmer?

If you’re pregnant, of course the right answer is to follow your instinct. I know plenty of pregnant women who were much more lax on the dos and don’ts and had great pregnancies and healthy babies. And I know other moms like me that were more cautious, but thankfully, had the same end result. As long as you’re steering clear of the obvious don’ts (I’m looking at you alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes, and roller coasters) then who is anyone to judge? Especially considering, God forbid, listeria may be lurking on that next piece of hipster avocado toast.


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