I'm pregnant, what cheeses are safe to eat?
The main concern is the contamination of the bacteria Listeria Monocytogenes, so there are generally two schools of thought: pasteurised cheeses and cheeses aged for more than 12 months.
According to the first, any pasteurised cheese is safe for consumption. However there have been cases of pasteurised soft cheeses being recalled due to Listeria contamination. This is because soft cheeses, with their high moisture content are conducive for bacteria growth.
The other is to eat only cheeses aged 12 months or more. Research shows the Listeria bacteria cannot survive more than 6 months. Hard cheeses also contain a lot less moisture (cheeses lose as much as 10% of their weight in water due to evaporation during the maturation period) which makes it less conducive for the bacteria to grow. The recall of hard mature cheeses is incredibly rare.
In summary, pasteurised hard cheeses are definitely OK, but if you want to have the Comte for example (which is required to be made of raw milk), you should consider going for a 12 or 24 month. For pregnant ladies, we don’t recommend any blue or soft cheeses, pasteurised or otherwise.
Photo credit: Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay