Cheese and pregnancy: which cheeses should you avoid?

During pregnancy, your diet must be adapted. This is particularly the case for cheese lovers, as certain cheeses can carry bacteria (listeria) causing listeriosis, an infection which is potentially dangerous to your future baby and can cause a premature birth. Cheeses must, therefore, be chosen according to their manufacturing process.

Although the listeria bacterium is frequent in food products, cases of listeriosis intoxication is thankfully very low in France (around fifty cases per year). However, as it can be fatal for your future baby, it’s important to take precautions. We therefore recommend that you are monitored throughout your pregnancy by a nutritionist to avoid potentially dangerous foods. By joining our pregnancy program, you will have access to menus that have been specially put together by our qualified dietitian nutritionist coach which are 100% adapted to your needs and that of your baby. Essentially, you will have a pregnancy diet made for you!

Which cheeses put you at risk?

  • Raw milk cheeses are discouraged because they are not submitted to any manufacturing process to suppress their bacteria. Look at the label carefully to make sure “raw milk” is not on the list of ingredients.
  • You should avoid soft cheeses with a washed rind such as Pont l’Evêque, as well as those with a flowery crust such as Camembert and Brie.
  • The same goes for blue cheeses such as Roquefort and Bleu.

All these cheeses, however, can still be consumed on the sole condition that they have been cooked at a temperature above 73 ° C (min. pasteurisation temperature) preferably in the oven as, for example, in a gratin. Just melting them is not enough. Likewise, you can consume raclette cheeses if they are sufficiently cooked.

What cheeses should you eat during pregnancy?

Bacteria can not survive cooking. This is why cheeses that have been cooked or pasteurised (heated to high temperature) do not pose a risk.

Hard cheeses, such as Abondance, can be eaten because they have been cooked. However, because of the risk of contamination, it is not recommended to eat these cheeses in a grated form. Instead, grate cheeses like Emmental or Gruyere yourself.

You can also safely eat rindless and spreadable cheeses, such as mozzarella, Feta and St Morêt.

Finally, we advise you to remove the rind from all your cheeses as they are consistently exposed to bacteria, especially during the ripening process which provides bacteria with the perfect conditions for bacteria development.

Once your baby is born, you can introduce cheese as part of its food diversification. We even advise this to reduce allergies !

Cheeses are not the only foods at risk of transmitting listeria. This is the reason why you should also avoid raw meats and fish, smoked fish (salmon), as well as frozen meats like rillettes and pâté.

Do you find that there is too much information here to take in at once? Remember that as dieticians and nutritionists, we are trained to take care of pregnant women and to ensure their maximum safety before, during and after their pregnancy. Regular and personalised follow-ups will relieve you of most of your worries!

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