British judges could force mothers-to-be to pay compensation to their child and face criminal charges for ingesting certain types of food or drink during pregnancy that are deemed risky for unborn children.

Currently, a council in north-west England, which cannot be named, is looking to slap a woman with a criminal injuries payout to the person's daughter, who is now six, after she had allegedly drank half a bottle of vodka and eight cans of strong lager a day during pregnancy.

The council made its first attempt at to win compensation on the child's behalf in January but failed.

If the Court of Appeal rules in the girl's favour, it could mean other types of food and drink, such as unpasteurised cheese, runny eggs or raw meat and fish, could land women with "crime of violence" charges because it puts the foetus at risk.

However, despite the council claiming that the girl in the court case is suffering from "growth retardation" due to the mother's excessive drinking, the opposition has stipulated that there is no empirical evidence that can be blamed for the daughter's state of health.

"Can it be said a pregnant mother who eats unpasteurised cheese or a soft boiled egg, knowing the risk [would then be liable for the same treatment]?" said Ben Collins, a lawyer for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

A judgment in the appeal is expected at a later date.

NHS Guidelines

Britain's NHS advises women that "there are some foods to avoid or take care with when you're pregnant because they might make you ill or harm your baby.

"Make sure you know the important facts about which foods you should avoid or take precautions with when you're pregnant."

On its website it lists the following as foods to avoid while pregnant:

Some types of cheese


Raw or partly cooked eggs

Raw or undercooked meat



Vitamin/fish oil supplements

Cold cured meats



Milk and yoghurt

Raw shellfish

Ice cream

Smoked fish

Foods with soil on them


Herbal teas