Honey: Is it safe during pregnancy?

Is it okay to eat foods containing honey while pregnant? Will these foods harm the fetus?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Many parents know that it is not safe to give honey to a baby younger than one year of age. The reason that this is advised is because honey can contain the botulinum spore that in the proper environment may cause the deadly food poisoning botulism. Acid will inhibit the spore from growing and producing the botulism toxin. A baby's immature digestive system is not yet acidic enough to inhibit the toxin from being produced, whereas the digestive system of an older baby and adults is. In other words, the baby's digestive tract provides a nice warm, air-free, low-acid environment where botulinum spores just love to grow. When it grows it will produce the toxin. The toxin produced by the spore is the danger.

A pregnant mom can safely eat honey. Her digestive tract is acidic, and will prevent a botulinum spore from growing -- no toxin will be produced. There is no danger to the fetus from the mom-to-be eating honey or honey-containing foods.

Thank you for writing.

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