Image of kippered salmon

Eating Kippered Fish During Pregnancy: Is it Safe?

What is kippered? It usually refers to a style of food preparation involving herring, salmon or some other fish. In most cases, people are referring to a herring, which is a small oily fish. Kippering refers to the preservation of the herring by rubbing salt or spices across the fish prior to being placed in the open air or in the smoker to dry.

A herring that has been prepared as directed below has garnered the name “Kipper.” This type of fish preparation is popular in Japan, the United Kingdom, and some areas of the United States and Canada.

How Do You Prepare a Kippered Fish?

In order to make a kippered fish, you must first split the herring in a butterfly fashion from the head to tail. This is step one. The second step involves gutting the herring And make sure that it is clean. Following the gutting and cleaning of the fish, the butterflied herring should be pickled or salted.

The last step is to place the herring in the open air or over a smoldering set of oak wood chips. These are two different ways to create kippered fish.

Image of prepared kippered fish

Is it Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Kippered herring or salmon are considered potential risks to eat during pregnancy. The primary reason is this food preparation method is more vulnerable to Listeria. Kippered fish itself is not going to hurt you. However salmon or herring prepared this way is more susceptible to Listeria, which would be devastating to your baby.

Kippered salmon or herring left out to dry is more vulnerable to Listeria than the salmon or herring kippered through the smoke. However,  there is still reason for caution.  Smoking rarely gets hot enough to actually kill Listeria.

However,  kippered fish prepared in other dishes are cooked separately have a greater probability of being safe. For example, a kippered salmon cooked in a casserole should reach temperatures hot enough to kill the Listeria. Another option is to take kippered salmon or herring and reheat it on the stove.

What About Kippered Fish Benefits?

It is true kippered fish are usually rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Some people prefer the taste of fish prepared this way and may argue the benefits make it worthwhile. Yes, these fish have benefits, and if not tainted are a great source for omega-threes.

You have probably heard stories of people eating kippered fish and discovering everything is fine. The majority of the time this will be the case. The likelihood of eating kippered fish with Listeria is doubtful. However,  the concern is that it is disastrous when it is encountered by pregnant mothers-to-be.

The problem is you cannot tell if the fish has been tainted. So here is where the recommendation comes into play,  noting it is better to be safe than sorry. Avoiding kippered fish is the safest course of action.

Other Nutrition Recommendations

You can explore foods to avoid or foods that contribute towards healthy eating practices through other articles on our site. One of the easiest ways to do this is to click on one of the tags at the top of each page.

For example here is a whole section on “Is it Safe During Pregnancy?”

Last updated: 08/2015

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