Can I eat cheese while pregnant?
Is It Safe?

Can I eat cheese while pregnant?

By Amy Morrison

I think every pregnant woman should be issued a taser and a wheel of brie.

The  taser for people who ask “Haven’t you had that baby yet?!” and the  wheel of brie because, hey, when can you consume about 800 calories in  one sitting and be able to blame any weight on another person?

Listeria  is the big worry. Listeriosis is a severe bacterial infection caused by  Listeria monocytogenes and can be found naturally in soil,  decaying vegetation, and in the intestinal tract of most mammals. Foods  that can be contaminated by it include cole slaw, hot dogs, deli meats,  chicken, and non-pasteurized dairy products.

Center of Disease  Control claims that pregnant women are 20 times more likely to become  infected than non-pregnant healthy adults. When someone ingests  contaminated food, L. monocytogenes gets into the bloodstream and  spreads to other organs, including the placenta. It’s nasty. You don’t  want it and if you read the articles on listeria you will be amazed that  any of us made it here considering how common it is and how deadly it  can be.

Where you lose me is the obsession with soft cheese –  such as brie or camembert, and blue-veined cheeses, like danish blue and  stilton. It seems to be on every no-no list yet the risk applies to the unpasteurized varieties and not the ones that you’re most likely to find at your grocery store. There is some talk around the ripening process, but it’s a pretty perfect storm that could affect anything you consume cold or raw.

Unpasteurized cheeses and the sale and consumption of  raw dairy products are severely restricted in North America. Since 1949,  the US government has forbidden the sale of cheeses made from  unpasteurized milk unless the cheese is aged at least 60 days (the idea  being that after 60 days the acids and salt in the cheese will kill off  any harmful bacteria). So you’re actually hard pressed to find any soft  cheese that isn’t pasteurized these days.

Check the packaging or  ask if the cheese is pasteurized. If it is, take the maternity waistband  for a test drive and roll out the cheese wheel darlin’. Be sure to  taser anyone that comes near it.

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