If you love mozzarella on a pizza, in a Caprese salad, or at its melty, stringy best in a mozzarella stick, you might be wondering can you eat mozzarella when pregnant?
It’s a good question, because there are some cheeses you need to avoid at all costs while pregnant.
So, is mozzarella one of them?
The short answer is: it depends.
You can safely enjoy some types of mozzarella cheese during pregnancy, while others are deemed unsafe due to the way they’re prepared.
Read on to learn more about mozzarella and pregnancy.
What cheeses can’t you eat while pregnant?
Generally speaking, pregnant women should steer clear of soft cheeses such as feta, brie, camembert, blue-veined cheeses, or mold-ripened cheeses.
This is because softer cheese has a higher moisture content, which is an attractive environment for bacteria to multiply and thrive.
However, when it comes to mozzarella, if the cheese has been pasteurized, it’s considered safe to eat.
General food safety advice such as storing mozzarella in the fridge and not eating it past its expiry date is even more essential to follow during pregnancy.
What’s the deal with pasteurization?
The most important thing to look for when purchasing or eating mozzarella products is whether the cheese has been pasteurized.
Pasteurization is the process of heating dairy products to kill off harmful bacteria.
The main concern with eating unpasteurized cheese is its potential to harbor harmful bacteria such as listeria.
This could cause the condition listeriosis. According to the FDA, the risks are ten times higher of falling ill with the condition while pregnant.
Effects can range from food poisoning to miscarriage. For this reason, unpasteurized milk or cheese is banned in certain countries, such as Australia and New Zealand.
Is all mozzarella pasteurized?
The good news is that most shop-bought cheese is pasteurized in the US.
In fact, if the mozzarella cheese is made in the USA, the FDA states that it must be pasteurized.
Examples of popular pasteurized mozzarella cheese brands you might find in your local store include Kraft, Sargento, and Galbani.
And while most mozzarella is made from cow’s milk, you may have noticed “buffalo mozzarella” available in the store.
The question is, can you eat buffalo mozzarella when pregnant? This type of mozzarella is made from water buffalo’s milk and should be subject to the same pasteurization standards.
If you’re unsure, check the label. If a store assistant or restaurant can’t tell you whether the cheese has been pasteurized, it’s best to avoid it for now.
Can you eat fresh mozzarella when pregnant?
Some fresh cheeses should be avoided during pregnancy, but fresh mozzarella made from pasteurized milk is considered safe to eat.
So, the good news is you can still enjoy your favorite pizzas, salads, and sandwiches during pregnancy.
Most fresh mozzarella is made from pasteurized milk but always double-check the labels before eating.
Can you eat mozzarella on pizza when pregnant? Can you eat cold cheese while pregnant?
Another piece of good news is that you can eat mozzarella cheese hot or cold.
So yes, you can safely eat mozzarella sticks when pregnant or enjoy it hot on a pizza, in pasta, or cold and mixed through a salad.
And apart from being delicious and bringing some foodie joy during pregnancy, eating mozzarella in moderation also has its benefits.
Compared with other cheeses, such as cheddar, mozzarella is relatively low in calories. Per 100 grams of mozzarella, there are just 300 calories.
It’s also a good source of protein, providing 51% of the daily value per 100 grams, and it contains essential vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin D, E, and A, and calcium.
To recap: Enjoying mozzarella as part of a balanced diet will benefit you (and bump, too!) — just make sure it’s pasteurized and stored correctly.
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