Can I Eat Any Lunch Meats?


Dear Nutritionist,
I have a question regarding Listeria. I have been reading quite a few articles on the dangers of Listeria, specifically found in certain kinds of fish and meats and cheeses.

I just wondered if all "lunch meats" or "deli meats" were off limits, or if there is a "safe" amount to eat or certain kinds that are safer than others. Would buying meats from a deli be better or worse than the pre-packed store bought meats? I miss my sandwiches!

Thank you for your time!


Hello Melissa,

The advice from USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is: "Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats unless they are reheated until steaming hot." So you can still have luncheon or deli meats but you need to reheat them until steaming hot before eating them.

Good luck with your pregnancy!
-- Kimberly, RD LD

Kimberly Tessmer

Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD LD has been a registered dietitian since 1992 and is also an Ohio licensed Dietitian. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Technology (Dietetics) from Bowling State University in Bowling Green, OH. She currently owns and operates a consulting business called "Nutrition Focus", in which she specializes and offers services in the areas of weight management, general nutrition, authoring, menu development and a variety of other services.

To date Kim has authored three books including "The Everything® Nutrition Book", "Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Celiac Disease", and "The Everything® Pregnancy Nutrition Book". In addition, Kim has written numerous articles for various health/nutrition web sites and magazines including Bally Total Fitness Magazine, Well and Healthy Women Magazine and, Inc as well as continuing education courses for She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.