If you enjoy goat’s cheese smeared on a bagel or mixed up in a salad, you might be wondering can you eat goat’s cheese when pregnant?
It’s a perfectly valid question. There are plenty of foods you need to think twice about (or straight-up avoid) now that you’re eating for two.
So, is goat’s cheese one of them? Is goat cheese safe to eat during pregnancy?
The answer to that is: it depends.
While certain types of goat’s cheese are deemed unsafe to eat while pregnant, some are still approved by FDA guidelines.
Read on to find out which type of goat’s cheese you can safely enjoy when you’re expecting. But first…
In this article: 📝
- Which types of cheese should you avoid when pregnant?
- “So, can I eat any type of goat’s cheese while pregnant?”
- To recap: goat’s cheese when pregnant
Which types of cheese should you avoid when pregnant?
Any unpasteurized, soft cheese is deemed unsafe for pregnant women.
What happens if you eat goat’s cheese when pregnant?
If it’s unpasteurized, it may harbor harmful bacteria such as Listeria monocytogene, which can lead to listeriosis.
While it’s relatively rare to contract this illness, 2,500 Americans do become ill with listeriosis annually — and one out of five cases result in death.
According to the FDA, the risks are 10 times higher of falling ill with the condition while pregnant. Effects can range from food poisoning to miscarriage.
If you’re unsure whether cheese is pasteurized, check the label or ask the store clerk to find out for you.
In addition to unpasteurized soft goat’s cheese, the CDC advises avoiding other soft cheeses such as queso fresco, queso blanco, panela (queso panela), brie, camembert, blue-veined, or feta.
Another type of goat’s cheese to avoid while pregnant is surface-ripened (also known as mold-ripened) cheese. It’s also known as chèvre or goat brie.
Unfortunately, chèvre is probably exactly what you’re thinking of if you have a craving for “goat cheese.”
Pregnant women should avoid all soft mold-ripened goat cheese, even if the cheese is pasteurized.
Visually, surface-ripened cheese has a velvety or “felt-like” white rind around it.
These cheeses are deemed unsafe to eat as the presence of listeria is significantly higher (up to 160 times higher, according to the CDC) in these products.
“So, can I eat any type of goat’s cheese while pregnant?”
By now, you may be wondering if any goat’s cheese is considered safe to eat while pregnant. Well, good news: goat’s cheese isn’t completely off the table.
While the chance of a foodborne illness occurring when pregnant is never zero, certain types of goat’s cheese are deemed safe to eat while pregnant.
Can you eat pasteurized goat’s cheese when pregnant?
There are more cheeses made with goat milk than just chèvre. Almost any type of cheese can be made with goat milk, including cheddar and gouda.
Hard and pasteurized goat’s cheese is considered safe to eat while pregnant.
Is most goat cheese pasteurized? In the US, most store-bought goat’s cheese is pasteurized, but, as we mentioned earlier, always double-check the label to make sure this is the case when purchasing individual products.
Hard cheeses are less likely to cause foodborne illness due to their lower water content, making it harder for harmful bacteria to grow.
Can you eat cooked goat’s cheese when pregnant?
Another way to reduce the likelihood of contracting a foodborne illness from goat’s cheese is to cook it thoroughly.
The goat’s cheese needs to reach an internal temperature of 165°F to kill off any nasty bacteria.
Can you eat melted goat’s cheese when pregnant? Yes, go for it! Thankfully, baked and melted goat’s cheese is delicious!
To recap: goat’s cheese when pregnant
Is goat cheese safe during pregnancy? Yes, but only if it’s hard, pasteurized, or cooked through.
You should avoid any unpasteurized dairy products while pregnant.
In particular, steer clear of soft mold-ripened or surface-ripened goat’s cheese, as these are notorious for hosting harmful bacteria.
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