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Can Pregnant Women Eat Corned Beef?

Pregnancy is an exciting time but it can also be a time when women worry about what they should and should not be eating.

There are so many questions around what pregnant women can consume that it can quickly become overwhelming and confusing. Questions such as can pregnant women eat corned beef?

But the answers are never simple when you are pregnant and there are always ifs, buts, and maybes. So we have taken a dive into the world of corned beef and its counterpart that is often just called ‘salt beef’ to help put your mind at ease.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Canned Corned Beef?

So canned cord beef has been around for decades and was in fact one of the first foods to be canned in the early 1900s. It is also known as tinned corned beef. But this type of corned beef is very different from the salted whole brisket that is then sliced – this is also called corned beef.

Canned corned beef is easy to spot as it comes in a non-traditional shaped can and also comes with a small metal key that is used to open the can allowing you to take the meat out.

This type of corned beef is normally safe for pregnant women to consume due to the way that it is processed. It is cooked at high pressure and then sterilized at high temperatures, this process kills all the bacteria that could possibly be present. 

This also means that canned corned beef can be eaten cold straight from the can. As it is already cooked and sterile it can be used for sandwiches.

But do not mix canned corned beef up with salted whole brisket as these are two very different forms of the same meat. 

Salted Whole Brisket

The corned beef that comes in a can is very different from traditional corned beef or ‘salt beef’ as it is often referred to. This is usually a whole brisket or another similar cut that is then cured in a salty brine and then cooked.

Homemade corned beef or salt beef is going to be an entire brisket type. But if you are eating out you may have to clarify if it is canned corned beef or whole corned beef or salt beef.

Deli Meat or Not?

Salt beef should be heated before eating in the same way as any deli meat should be. This is because they are potentially unsafe due to the way that they are stored and displayed. 

The risk from deli meat is not so much due to the animal it comes from but more to do with the fact that it is usually cold, cooked meat, which is usually sliced and then displayed.

While you are pregnant, for the safety of you and your unborn child corned beef should be treated like any other deli meat. This then means:

  1. If the corned beef is homemade, it is safe to eat when it is freshly cooked. Once it is cooled you should follow the instructions for reheating below.
  2. If however, you are buying corned beef or salt beef at the store in either a packet or from the deli, it should then be treated as a deli meat – meaning that in order for you to consume it safely, you’ll need to ensure that the meat is heated until it is steaming hot or has reached the temperature of 165F/75C.

Corned Beef Dishes And Pregnancy Safety

Here are a few common corned beef dishes that are most often asked about:

Corned beef hash

This dish is made from canned corned beef or sometimes from a shredded joint. This type of hash is usually cooked in a frying pan, but you must ensure that the meat is steaming hot before you eat it.

The other normal ingredients in the corned beef hash are perfectly safe to eat while pregnant.

Corned beef with cabbage

This dish is traditionally eaten on St Patrick’s Day. Depending on how you cook this dish will also depend on how safe it is to eat while pregnant. Slow cookers may not get it hot enough 165F/75C so you would need to check this before eating.


Is corned beef considered processed meat?

Processed meats are defined as any meats that aren’t fresh. This includes corned beef, sausages, hot dogs, beef jerky, any canned meat, lunch meats, and bacon.

What is the difference between corned beef and brisket?

They are both beef but really are not the same thing. Beek brisket is fresh and comes like a large roasting joint of meat. While corned beef starts out as brisket and is firstly brine-cured. This curing process is what makes it corned beef and also gives it its color.

Why is corned beef bad for you?

Corned beef does provide you with protein and nutrients such as iron and vitamin B12, it is also relatively high in fat and sodium. It is also a source of certain compounds that may increase your risk of cancer.

The Final Thought

Pregnancy can be tough when it comes to what you can and can not eat but depending on your diet before pregnancy most women only need to make a few small tweaks to stay safe.

There are still plenty of foods and snacks that you can safely enjoy while pregnant that are also healthy for both mom and baby.

If you do fancy a corned beef sandwich or even some corned beef hash it is safe to say that if you take a few minor precautions you can go ahead and tuck in!!!

Here are a few other food-related articles that you may want to check out can pregnant women eat hot dogs? and Can you eat goat’s cheese when pregnant?