Should you eat blue cheese when pregnant? As it has been linked to listeria in the past, there is definitely some cause for concern. Despite listeria outbreaks being rare, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid blue veined cheese.
You might feel that the list of food to avoid for pregnant women is growing longer by the second. If you really want to enjoy a slice of blue cheese, then it may be worth looking for varieties that are made from pasteurized milk as the risk is greatly reduced. Listeriosis bacteria is killed by pasteurizing or high temperature cooking. Check the label carefully to see if the brand is made from pasteurized milk. If it states raw milk, then it is best to put it back on the shelf. You can also reduce the risk of listeria by storing blue cheese correctly in the fridge before eating.
American, Canadian and Australian health and pregnancy bodies all recommend that pregnant women avoid blue cheese and blue-veined cheese. The Center for Disease Control reports that 1,600 listeria infections occur each year in the US alone.
To back up their concern, statistics even show that pregnant women are more likely to become infected than non-pregnant healthy adults, so you need to weigh up the risk when browsing the deli section. Infection is most common in the third trimester.
Symptoms of listeria include flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, fever and nausea. Serious complications from a listeria infection include miscarriage, premature delivery and infection of your baby. Untreated listeria is deadly and results in over 200 deaths a year in the United States.
Before you eat your next piece of blue cheese on a cracker, consider whether it is worth it?