In a nutshell

No, raw and rare meat is not safe for pregnant women


The expert view

A rare steak may be top of the list of cravings right now, but eating raw or rare meat has the potential risk of toxoplasmosis (although this is very rare) which can cause neurological damage to your baby, or even stillbirth.

Although the Department of Health previously advised that it was fine to eat whole cuts of beef and lamb rare, as long as the outside had been properly cooked, this guidance has now been updated after research from a government food committee.

The Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food’s latest report states: "Do not eat raw, or undercooked, meat, particularly lamb, pork, and venison, including any ready prepared chilled meals. Cook all red meat until no trace of pinkness remains and the juices run clear, and do not taste meat before it is fully cooked. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat."

It's also important to thoroughly clean your work surfaces after preparing meat, and storing it safely.

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Dr Rana Conway, a specialist pregnancy nutritionist, warns to be "particularly careful when you're eating out or at a barbecue".

"It may be a good idea to cut into the middle of a sausage or piece if meat to check it's cooked right through," she says. "It may seem a little rude but you can do it discreetly!"

Mums on forum say

"Sad for me as I love a bit of rare steak." Goonie_mummy

" Basically any meat, food etc should be really well cooked to prevent any bacteria, food poisoning etc. The risks are exceptionally tiny - but you should maybe stick to well done for the next 25 weeks." gr2007

Read more about pregnancy food safety:

Can cured meats harm my baby when I'm pregnant?

Are any unpasteurised cheeses safe to eat if I'm pregnant?


What are the rules around seafood during pregnancy?


Magda Ibrahim is a freelance writer who has written for publications including The Times and Sunday Times, The Sun, Time Out, and the London Evening Standard, as well for MadeForMums.