Can I eat soft ice cream when pregnant?

Really, soft ice cream?! I thought that was a mandatory staple of pregnancy – well, okay, maybe just mine.

Anyway, some people have heard of this one and some people are reading this (possibly while eating a Peanut Buster Parfait) and thinking WTF?!

Once again listeria is the fear here.

Listeria monocytogenes has the potential to be present in all raw foods. So really, if you plan to eat during your pregnancy, you run the risk of coming in contact with listeria. It’s one of the nastier bacterias and  pregnant women are 20 times more likely to become infected than non-pregnant healthy adults. I talk about it a little more in soft cheese.

Here are the two ways you could potentially pick up listeria through soft serve.

One is through contaminated milk but most countries have strict regulations about the commercial sale of milk so it has most likely been pasteurized which would kill most, if not all, of the bacteria.

The second reason they pick on soft-serve is because there is more potential for contamination post-pasteurization than there is with hard ice cream. So, soft-serve ice cream mix is stored and transported at refrigeration temperatures and listeria can survive in that kind of environment. Plus, if it is run through a dirty machine or the jerk ahead of you at a self-serve machine has traces of stuff that would make Purell shudder, then you can pick it up.

Since self-pasteurizing machines have been introduced in the many of the major fast food organizations, the incidence of contamination is relatively uncommon.

The nitty gritty. Yep, it is possible but the risks are still very, very low.

search: listeria in soft serve ice cream

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25 Comments

  • Now I want a Peanut Buster Parfait! Does this count for frozen yogurt? Because that is my staple during summer and I’m gonna be one hot and sweaty pregnant lady here soon.

  • Someone scared me on this when I was pregnant last summer and I contacted DQ’s head office and they told me all of their Canadian locations clean their machines nightly. They had never heard of a case of listeria coming from one of their locations. I happily enjoyed my blizzard I was craving! I would possibly be more sketched out at some obscure weird store that sells soft serve but I think we’re pretty safe in our chain restaurants.

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