List of safe food in pregnancy

When you are pregnant, making safe food choices is very important. Get to know what you can and can't eat when you are pregnant.

What to eat when pregnant

You may like to print this page and keep it as a handy reference on the fridge when shopping or dining out to ensure you have a safe pregnancy. You can also download our pullout guide. It has the same information.

Pullout guide [PDF, 608 KB]

Guide to food safety in pregnancy

Breads and cereals
Breads All types OK to eat
Cakes, slices, muffins 
  • Plain
OK to eat
  • With added cream or custard
Don't eat (unless cream is newly opened and custard is home-made and fresh)
Cereals Breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, and similar OK to eat – refer to dairy products below for advice on milk. This advice does not cover fresh pasta with filled varieties. Check advice specific to the filling if available
  • Low acid soft pasteurised cheese (for example, brie, camembert, blue, ricotta, mozzarella, feta, haloumi)
Do not eat unless cooked
  • Hard cheese (for example, cheddar, parmesan)
OK to eat. Store in fridge
  • Pasteurised cottage cheese, cream cheese or similar
Buy in sealed packs. Eat cold within 2 days of opening the pack or eat cooked until “best before” date on the packaging
Butter All types OK to eat. Store in fridge
Cream Fresh, unwhipped or whipped, sour cream and similar Buy in sealed packs. Keep the cream refrigerated in the original packaging and take care to prevent contamination when using. Eat within 2 days of opening pack
  • Ready-made chilled (packaged)
Keep refrigerated in original packaging and eat within 2 days of opening.
  • Home-made
Eat hot immediately after cooking. Reheat leftovers until piping hot (over 70°C) and eat immediately
  • Pasteurised
Keep milk refrigerated in the original packaging. Take care not to contaminate lids when using and consume before the manufacturer’s best before date
Ice cream
  • Packaged
OK to eat
  • Soft serve
Don't eat
  • Pasteurised
For commercially produced yoghurts follow the manufacturer’s advice on the package
Unpasteurised milk and dairy products
  • All types of unpasteurised (raw) milk and dairy products (cheese, cream yoghurt and similar)
Don’t eat
Raw eggs In egg flips, eggnog, smoothies, home-made mayonnaise and dressings, home-made ice cream, mousse and tiramisu, and similar Don't eat
Cooked eggs Fried, scrambled, baked, poached, and similar Cook well (firm yolks, firm scrambled eggs)
Meat and poultry
Cooked meats Beef, pork, chicken, mince, sausages, and similar

Cook until piping hot throughout, and until juices run clear (use a meat thermometer to check temperatures). Eat while hot, never eat rare or undercooked meats. Store leftovers covered in the fridge and eat within 2 days. Reheat leftovers and cold cooked meats until piping hot (over 70°C)

Processed meats Ham, salami, luncheon, pâté, pastrami, biltong, or jerky (dried meat), and similar Don't eat unless heated until piping hot (over 70°C)
Cold cooked poultry Any cold pre-cooked poultry (for example, chicken and turkey) Don't eat unless heated until piping hot (over 70°C)
Raw meat Any raw meat, raw chicken or other poultry, beef, pork, and similar Don't eat or taste. Don't touch face, mouth or eyes while preparing. Wash and dry hands well after touching raw meat
Raw fish Any raw fish (including marinated raw fish) Don't eat
Raw shellfish Any raw shellfish (including marinated raw mussels) Don't eat
Smoked fish, shellfish and crustacea Chilled, pre-cooked fish, mussels, oysters*, scallops*, salmon, crayfish, prawns, and similar Don't eat unless heated until piping hot (over 70°C)
Freshly cooked fish, mussels, oysters, crayfish, scallops, and similar   Make sure that it’s cooked thoroughly until piping hot (over 70°C) throughout. Eat while hot
Vegetables, salads, and fruits
Fruit All fresh fruits Wash and dry well just before eating. Whole melons should be thoroughly washed and dried before cutting. Frozen berries should be cooked before eating
  • All fresh vegetables
Wash and dry well just before eating raw, or wash before cooking
  • Frozen vegetables
Cook. Don't eat uncooked frozen vegetables
  • Salads: Pre-packaged salads and ready-made salads and coleslaws from delis, salad bars, or similar.
    Vegetable-based salads, pasta salads, rice salads, fruit salads, or similar

Don't eat
Herbs Dried herbs Cook thoroughly
Fresh home-grown and store-bought Wash well before using
Other types of food
Leftovers Cooked foods Store leftovers covered in the fridge and eat within 2 days. Reheat leftovers until piping hot (over 70°C). Never eat cold leftovers
Canned foods Canned fruit, vegetables, fish, seafood, meat, sauces, and similar Remove from the can for storage. Store uneaten leftovers covered in the fridge and eat within 2 days
Sauces, dressings and spreads Commercially manufactured salad dressings (oil and vinegar), bought mayonnaise, tomato sauce, margarine-type spreads, or similar Store in the fridge once opened. Check maximum storage time. Handle any heat-and-eat sauce products according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Store-bought (all types – even without raw seafood)
Don't eat
  • Home-made
Use freshly cooked rice, and don't use raw or cold cooked meat or seafood. Eat immediately. Don't eat leftovers
Stuffing Stuffing from chicken or turkey Don't eat unless stuffing is cooked separately (in a dish). Eat hot. Store leftovers
in the fridge and eat within 2 days. Reheat leftovers until piping hot (over 70°C)
Hummus and other dips containing tahini Store-bought or home-made Don't eat
  • Brown seaweed** (like kelp, kombu, wakame, arame, quandai-cai, hiziki/hijiki, or Sargassum fusiforme)
Limit to 1 serve a week
  • Red or green seaweed (including nori and karengo) used in sushi and dulse
OK to eat. See advice on sushi
  • Seed sprouts (alfalfa, mung bean, lentil, chickpea, broccoli, radish, pea, snow pea, adzuki)
Don’t eat unless cooked
Fruit juice and cider (non-alcoholic)
  • Pasteurised
OK to drink
  • Unpasteurised (raw)

Don’t drink

*Bluff and Pacific oysters and queen scallops contain more cadmium than other foods. We recommend you eat these shellfish only once a month during pregnancy.

**Brown seaweeds contain naturally very high iodine concentrations. Brown seaweeds are typically sold dry and are used in soups, stewed dishes, kelp salt and seaweed salads.

Recommended servings for fish species to minimise mercury intakes

No restriction necessary

Anchovy • Arrow squid • Barracouta • Blue cod • Brill/Turbot • Brown trout (except from Lake Ellesmere) • Cockles • Eel, long or short-finned • Elephant fish • Flounders • Gemfish • Gurnard • Hoki • John Dory • Ling • Monkfish or stargazer • Mussels (green and blue) • Orange perch • Orange Roughy • Oreo dories • Oysters (except Bluff and Pacific) • Parore • Scallops (except Queen) • Rainbow trout (only from non-geothermal regions) • Skipjack tuna (No data for yellowfin tuna) • Smooth oreo • Sole (except Lemon sole) • Southern blue whiting • Surf clams (for example, tuatua) • Tarakihi • Toothfish, Antarctic • Warehou (common, silver and white) • Whitebait (Inanga)

3 – 4 servings a week acceptable

Albacore tuna • Alfonsino • Bass • Bluenose • Ghost sharks • Hake • Hapuka (Groper) • Javelin Fish • Kahawai • Kingfish • Lake Taupo trout • Leatherjacket • Lemon sole • Mackerel (blue and jack) • Red cod • Ribaldo • Rig (Lemonfish, Spotted dogfish) • Rock Lobster • Salmon (farmed) • Sea perch • Silverside • Skate • Snapper • Sprats • Trevally

1 serving every 1 to 2 weeks acceptable

Cardinal fish • Dogfish (excluding rig) • Lake Rotomahana trout • Lake trout from geothermal regions • School shark (Greyboy, Tope) • Marlin (striped) • Southern bluefin tuna • Swordfish


Last reviewed: