Can You Eat Biltong When You are Pregnant



Is Biltong Safe During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy often brings about dietary concerns and cravings, and biltong—a popular dried meat delicacy—can be one of those cravings. Understanding whether it’s safe to indulge in biltong during pregnancy is crucial as it can affect the health of both the baby and the mother.

Nutritional Benefits of Biltong

Biltong is highly nutritious, boasting benefits such as high protein content, low fat, and rich concentrations of vitamins and minerals. This makes it an excellent source of energy and essential nutrients like iron and B-vitamins, which are vital during pregnancy​. 

It is also important to get biltong from reputable sources. In the UK it is important to get Biltong from reputable sources which have accredations like SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval). 

The Original Biltong is one of the only three Biltong supplier in the Uk that have this accredation. 

Risks Associated with Biltong

However, the preparation process of biltong poses a risk. Biltong is not cooked but rather marinated and air-dried, which means it can harbor harmful bacteria such as Listeria. This bacteria can cause listeriosis, an infection that is particularly dangerous during pregnancy. Furthermore thestoring process of the Biltong is also a concern: the storage conditions etc fuel the growth of bicteria which can be harmful during pregnancy. 

Comparing Biltong to Beef Jerky

Similarly, beef jerky, which is also a dried meat snack, shares these risks. Both biltong and jerky are prepared at low temperatures, making them susceptible to bacterial contamination. While some pregnant women consume these products without issues, the potential risk of listeriosis remains a significant concern​.

So Can You Eat Biltong During Pregnancy?

Biltong, a popular dried meat, is packed with protein and essential nutrients like iron and B-vitamins. However, due to its preparation process involving air-drying and low temperatures, biltong can harbor harmful bacteria such as Listeria, posing significant risks during pregnancy. The NHS advises pregnant women to avoid unpasteurized or undercooked foods, including dried meats like biltong, to prevent infections that could harm both mother and baby.

Other Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

In addition to dried meats like biltong and jerky, other foods to avoid during pregnancy include:

  • Unpasteurized dairy products: These can contain Listeria.
  • Raw or undercooked eggs and meats: Risk of Salmonella and Toxoplasma.
  • Certain seafood: High in mercury or risk of contamination, such as swordfish and raw shellfish.
  • Caffeine and alcohol: Linked to developmental issues and other health concerns for the baby.

Healthier Snack Alternatives

For safer snacking during pregnancy, consider:

  • Nuts and seeds: Rich in healthy fats and protein.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables: Packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Yogurt: Especially if it’s pasteurized and fortified with probiotics.
  • Whole grain crackers or bread: Provide energy and are easy to digest.

Final Thoughts

While biltong and beef jerky offer tempting and nutritious options, the potential risk of bacterial contamination makes them less advisable during pregnancy. Always consult your healthcare provider before making dietary decisions. Post-pregnancy, you can safely enjoy these tasty treats once again​.