Can You Eat Jimmy Johns or Subway While Pregnant?

Pregnant women are advised to avoid eating deli meats and cold cuts, such as ham, turkey, chicken and roast beef. These meats often contain listeria, a dangerous bacteria that can cause premature birth or miscarriage.

However, you can eliminate the risk by heating your sandwich to a temperature between 145-160 degrees Fahrenheit before eating it. You can also ask for freshly made bread because the bread may contain listeria if it was baked earlier in the day and not reheated before serving.

There are a few things you should know before you decide to eat your favorite sandwich/deli style store or supermarket counter if you’re pregnant. The following tips will help you make more pregnancy-safe choices when it comes to deli meat.

Can You Eat Jimmy Johns While pregnant?

For Jimmy Johns you will probabrly need to make a speacial request being that they don’t toast their subs. Listeria contamination is rare, but it does happen, and the risk is only lowered by heating deli meat or veg until steaming hot. Hot food is unavailable at Jimmy John’s due to their dedication to speed, which is what they’re famous for.

This means pregnant women will be restricted to only one or two items from the menu because the meat and/or veg cannot be heated to a safer temperature.

Can You Eat Subway While Pregnant?

The most important thing to keep in mind when eating at Subway during your pregnancy is to order your sandwich warm and toasted. This will help kill any bacteria that may be present in the meat. Make sure that the vegetables are fresh and crisp–you don’t want any soggy lettuce or tomato on your sandwich. If possible, order your sandwich without dressing–you can always add some later if you feel you need it.

If you are craving a cold sandwich from Subway, make sure that the meat is steaming hot before it goes on the bread. This will help kill any bacteria and will make your sandwich much safer to eat.

Eating Deli Meat During Pregnancy Is Safe.

The short answer is yes and no.

Yes, because the chance of having listeria on your sandwich is low.

No, because it’s still possible and there are ways to minimize the risk even further. Pregnant women should take extra care when eating deli meats, especially if the meat has been sitting out for several hours at room temperature.

This is because listeria can grow on food as it sits at room temperature—and it grows faster than other types of bacteria. A little bit of heat isn’t enough to kill off all the listeria germs; as long as they stay at least between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, they’ll continue to grow and multiply.

Why Is Listeria In Deli Meat?

Listeria is a bacteria that likes to hang out in deli meats, hot dogs and other processed foods that are typically stored at room temperature. It’s also found in unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses, and it can lurk in the soil and water.

Most people don’t get sick from Listeria, but they can carry the bacteria in their intestines and be a source of contamination (which is why pregnant women should not prepare meat). It’s more dangerous for those with weakened immune systems, like young children and older adults, as well as pregnant women.

Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than others, which can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. In fact, each year about 1,600 people get sick from listeriosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), killing around 260 people annually.

Can Listeria Always Cause Miscarriage?

Listeriosis is a foodborne sickness that can be extremely harmful to a pregnant woman. A listeria infection during pregnancy, while uncommon, can result in miscarriage, early birth, and major health issues for the infant.

Avoid unpasteurized dairy products and juice during pregnancy to avoid listeria and other germs that cause food poisoning. Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs should all be well cooked. Keep food refrigerated and don’t keep it for too long before consuming it. When preparing food at home, make sure to properly wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, and utensils in hot, soapy water.

How Can I Eat Deli Meat or cold cuts safely While Pregnant?

The safest way to eat deli meat while pregnant:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling deli meats.
  • Keep deli meats cold until you eat them. Submerge them in a container of ice or refrigerate them below 40 °F until it’s time to eat.
  • Keep deli meats separate from other foods. Store them in an airtight container, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil and place at the bottom of your refrigerator so that juices don’t drip onto other foods.
  • Throw away meat that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours (or more than one hour when the temperature is above 90°F).
  • Cook deli meats until steaming hot, if possible (but not required). Pregnant women can heat pre-cooked meat products like hot dogs, lunch meat, or sliced turkey without worrying about getting sick from Listeria bacteria; however health authorities still recommend this precaution for everyone, pregnant and not — especially since heating deli meat may also kill other harmful bacteria. To be extra safe when cooking any previously cooked food (like frozen pizza), use a food thermometer to make sure it gets to 165 °F throughout; otherwise cook it longer until it reaches that temperature.
  • Eat deli meats within 3-5 days after purchase — even if they’re already open. If unopened, deli meat can stay fresh up to two weeks past its expiration date if stored properly below 40 °F (which is the temperature recommended by the USDA). But once you’ve opened a package of lunchmeat, you should finish it off within three to five days because bacteria will grow more quickly at room temperature than they will in the fridge. Be sure that all expired foods are thrown out as soon as possible so that no one eats them accidentally! You’ll also want to avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw poultry separate from ready-to-eat items like lunchmeat or cheese slices since these might contain harmful microbes such as Salmonella enteritidis (SEO).
  • Heat hot dogs, luncheon meats, fully cooked ham and leftovers until steaming hot.
  • Microwave on high for 15 seconds per slice for sliced deli meats like turkey and ham.
  • Microwave on high for 30 seconds per slice for whole meat like roast beef and pastrami.

What happens if you accidentally deli meat while being pregnant?

If you ate a turkey sandwich before learning about the listeria link, don’t panic. According to the CDC, there are about 1,600 instances of listeriosis each year, so while your risk is much enhanced during pregnancy, statistically speaking, your risk is still low. Given the severe consequences, many doctors believe that the safest strategy to reduce the risk in the future is to avoid foods that are usually connected with the infection, such as deli meat. It’s also a good idea to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor. Your doctor should be able to advise you on what is best for you, your pregnancy, and your mental health.


ACOG. Listeria and pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. [Accessed March 2021]

CDC. 2021. Listeria (Listeriosis). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [Accessed March 2021]

FDA. 2018. Listeria from food safety for moms to be. US Food & Drug Administration. [Accessed March 2021]

FDA. 2018. What you need to know about preventing listeria infections. US Food & Drug Administration. [Accessed March 2021] 2021. Bacteria and viruses. US Department of Health & Human Services. [Accessed March 2021]

Marras L et al. 2019. Growth of Listeria monocytogenes in ready to eat salads at different storage temperatures and valuation of virulence genes expression. Annali di Igiene 31: 374-384. [Accessed March 2021]

Mayo Clinic. 2020. Listeria infection. [Accessed March 2021]

MedlinePlus. 2020. Listeria infections. [Accessed March 2021]

MotherToBaby. 2020. Listeria infection (Listeriosis). [Accessed March 2021]

UptoDate. 2019. Patient education: Avoiding infections in pregnancy (Beyond the Basics). [Accessed March 2021]

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