July 17, 2024

It’s not safe to drink unpasteurized juice while you’re pregnant, because it may contain harmful bacteria from the raw fruits and vegetables used to make the juice. These bacteria can cause food poisoning (illnesses such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis), which can be especially dangerous during pregnancy.

Ninety-eight percent of the juice sold in the United States is pasteurized, a process that kills bacteria by heating the juice to a certain temperature for a certain amount of time. When you’re buying juice at a grocery store, it will almost always be pasteurized. Some grocery stores may have unpasteurized juice in their refrigerated sections, though, so be sure to check the label before you buy.

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Unpasteurized packaged juice must be labeled with a warning that says: “This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.”

Sometimes, unpasteurized juice won’t have that warning label – for instance, fresh-squeezed juice sold by the glass at restaurants or from an apple orchard, farmers market, or roadside stand. You might also find unlabeled fresh-squeezed juice for sale at farmers markets, health food stores, food co-ops, and juice bars. If a juice is “raw” or “cold-pressed,” that means it hasn’t been pasteurized.

Be sure to ask if you’re not sure whether a juice has been pasteurized, and don’t drink unpasteurized juice unless you first bring it to a rolling boil for at least one minute to kill any harmful bacteria.

If you want to make fresh juice at home, you’ll need to first wash the outside of all fruits and vegetables you use under running water. No need to wash with soap, but if you’re using produce with a tough peel, you can give it a good scrub with a vegetable brush. Be sure to wash even the fruits and vegetables with skin you plan on peeling, like citrus and melons, since bacteria on the peel can be transferred to the fruit when it’s sliced. Cut away any damaged or bruised areas, since bacteria can thrive there.

Juice can be a healthy option to get nutrients you need while pregnant – as long as it’s safely prepared. For example, orange juice can be a good source of vitamin C and calcium, and prune juice can provide potassium and iron. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you can incorporate juice into a healthy diet.

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