Prime Rib Safety When Pregnant (Medium, Rare + More) 

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Written by Shandra Williams

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Here at Pregnancy Food Checker, we’ve written a lot about eating steaks when pregnant, and we get a lot of questions about prime rib, too – so here’s a complete guide to whether you should eat it when you’re pregnant, and how it should be cooked.

Prime rib is safe to eat during pregnancy if cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63c) for three to four minutes. Pregnant women are often advised to avoid eating prime rib rare or medium-rare.

In this article, we’ll look at the risks of eating prime rib during pregnancy. We’ll also provide tips for ensuring that your meal is safe and tasty.

Is Prime Rib Safe During Pregnancy?

One of the main concerns when eating undercooked prime rib is the possibility of E. coli contamination, especially if it is ‘mechanically tenderized’. This harmful bacteria can cause food poisoning, which can be especially dangerous for pregnant women.

E. coli is usually found in undercooked ground beef but can also be present in other meat products, such as steak. The bacteria can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.

homemade grass fed prime rib roast on the table

In some cases, it can even lead to kidney failure. Aside from digestive problems, E. coli can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth (source: HHS Public Access Journal). However, this is extremely rare. If you stick to fully cooked (medium well is OK) prime rib, then it’s safe during pregnancy.

Eating safely cooked prime rib gives you essential nutrients that are important for pregnancy. These include protein, iron, and zinc.

  • Protein: Protein is essential for developing the placenta, muscles, and organs (source: International Journal of Molecular Sciences). The recommended intake for pregnant women is about 60 grams per day (source: University of California). A hundred grams of prime rib has approximately 23.7 grams of protein content (source: USDA).
  • Iron: Iron is important for producing hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood (source: Journal of Research in Medical Sciences). Pregnant women need about 30 milligrams of iron per day (source: UT Southwestern Medical Center). A hundred grams of prime rib contains about 2.24 milligrams of iron (source: USDA).
  • Zinc: Zinc is vital for the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system (source: HHS Public Access Journal). Pregnant women need about 11 milligrams of zinc per day (source: Drugs). A hundred grams of prime rib contains about 5.91 milligrams of zinc (source: USDA).

Can I Eat Medium or Medium Rare Prime Rib When Pregnant?

It’s generally advised that pregnant women avoid eating a piece of meat that is rare or medium rare. This is because there is a greater risk of bacterial contamination in meat that is not cooked all the way through.

However, there are steps you can take to avoid contamination. First, make sure that your prime rib is cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four minutes. You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the meat (source: FDA). 

Another way to reduce the risk of foodborne illness is to avoid cross-contamination. This means keeping raw meat away from other food, including cooked food. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. You should also use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked meat.

Cooking Prime Rib at Home

If you’re planning to cook prime rib at home, simply follow the recommendations detailed above.

Cooking prime rib at home is an advantage. This is because you can control the cooking process and make sure that the cuts of meat are cooked properly and avoid cross-contamination. Unlike when you eat at a restaurant, you don’t have to worry about undercooked meat.

prime rib with vegetables on a plate

Eating Prime Rib in a Restaurant

If you’re eating out, you can ask the cook to prepare the prime rib to your liking. Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate your request. Just make sure to specify how you want it cooked so that they can take the necessary steps to ensure that the meat is safe to eat. Ask for the meat to be checked with a thermometer – all good kitchens will have one.

To make sure that your prime rib is cooked properly, you can ask them to do the following:

  • Check the internal temperature of the meat with a food thermometer not only by touching or by sight. Request for the prime rib to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If the above request is not available, then you can also cut the prime rib yourself to check the cooking doneness. The center of the prime rib should only be slightly pink, and the juices should be running clear not red or pink. Or, if you like, have it well done to be extra safe.

Following these steps will help to make sure that your prime rib is cooked properly and safely.

Tips on Eating Prime Rib When Pregnant

Even if you take the necessary precautions to avoid E. coli contamination, there is always a potential risk of foodborne illness when eating meat that is not cooked all the way through. So, it’s important to take some extra precautions when eating prime rib when pregnant.

The safest way to eat prime rib is well-done, but this can taste dry if you’re used to having it closer to rare. Extra sauce, marinade, and dressings can help it taste much better. Also, choose more marbled or aged cuts for extra tenderness, even when well done.

In summary, here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat.
  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked meat.
  • Cook meat thoroughly before eating.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat away from other food.
  • For the sauce, use only pasteurized products.

These are the things you need to know about eating prime rib while pregnant. You can enjoy this delicious main course with these few safety precautions in place. Just be extra careful with the processes of handling and cooking.