Safe Cheeses During Pregnancy
As a pregnant woman, eating for two, you should be aware that certain soft cheeses can become contaminated with bacteria called
Listeria. If you become sick from Listeria, your baby could get sick or die. To protect your unborn baby,
eat hard cheeses instead of soft cheeses while you are pregnant.
Soft cheeses that can easily become contaminated include:
Mexican-Style Soft Cheeses
- queso blanco
- queso fresco
- queso de hoja
- queso de crema
Other Soft Cheeses
- feta (goat cheese)
- blue-veined cheeses, like Roquefort
Listeria can also contaminate other foods. Contaminated food may
not look, smell or taste different from uncontaminated food.
Symptoms of infection can develop from 2 to 30 days after you eat
contaminated food. If the infection spreads to your unborn baby, you
could start early labor. Tell your doctor right away if you get any
of these symptoms:
- fever and chills, or other flu-like symptoms
Although Listeria bacteria are killed with thorough cooking,
they can still grow in the refrigerator and survive in the
To prevent infection, take these precautions:
- Eat hard cheeses, like cheddar, instead of soft cheeses during
- If you do eat soft cheeses during pregnancy, cook them until they
are boiling (bubbling).
- Use only pasteurized dairy products. It will say "pasteurized" on
- If you use hard cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, use only
those marked "aged 60 days" (or longer).
- Eat only thoroughly cooked meat, poultry and seafood.
- Thoroughly reheat all meats purchased at deli
counters, including cured meats like salami, before eating them.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables well.
- Follow label instructions on products that must be refrigerated or
that have a "use by" date.
- Keep the inside of the refrigerator, counter tops, and utensils
- After handling raw foods, wash your hands with warm soapy water, and
wash the utensil you used with hot soapy water before using them again.
If you have any questions about Listeria, call (1-800) FDA-4010.