Is it safe to eat cheese during pregnancy?

You should not eat certain soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese during pregnancy because of the risk of becoming infected with "listeria." Listeria is a bacterium that can infect and kill the fetus.

The CDC suggests the following to reduce your risk for listeriosis:

  1. Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry.
  2. Wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating.
  3. Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.
  4. Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or foods made from raw milk.
  5. Wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods.
  6. Recommendations for persons at high risk, such as pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems, in addition to the recommendations listed above: Avoid soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese. (Hard cheeses, processed cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt need not be avoided.)
  7. Left-over foods or ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs, should be cooked until steaming hot before hating.

Although the risk of listeriosis associated with foods from deli counters is relatively low, pregnant women and immunosuppressed persons may choose to avoid these foods or thoroughly reheat cold cuts before eating.

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