Is Caviar Safe During Pregnancy?

QUESTION

Dear Nutritionist,
Is it recommended or safe to eat fish eggs (red caviar) during pregnancy?

ANSWER

This one took a bit of research! It seems that caviar would be as safe as any other form of pasteurized egg. There are some malsol caviars that are not pasteurized, only brine cured. The process of brining actually allows listeria (a dangerous food born illness) to survive while other pathogens are destroyed, which explains the extra caution with caviar that should be taken.

You must check the package to assure that the caviar has been pasteurized. If you have any question about this you would be advised to contact the manufacturer directly to validate the form of pasteurization.

The biggest potential problem for any pregnant woman would be the presence of this food borne illness called listeria. To counter that potential problem, some caviar manufacturers use radio frequency pasteurization as well as high temperature water bath pasteurization. It does increase the cost of the product and that would be reflected in the purchase price.

Again, if you are not sure if and how the product is pasteurized you should contact the manufacturer. If you cannot find the information you need you should avoid the product.

-- 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" www.nutrifocus.net, 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 Healthology.com, Inc as well as continuing education courses for www.care2learn.com. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.