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Q. I know that while being pregnant you are not supposed to eat soft or semi-soft cheeses, but is cheese safe if it’s made from pasteurized milk? Are mini-cheesecake cups safe?”
As long as it’s been handled safely and hasn’t gone rancid, pasteurized cheese is safe.
The warnings you’ve heard about certain kind of cheeses, like queso blanco, ricotta and
raw milk cheese have to do with a fear of contamination of a type of bacteria called Listeria, which can cause listeriosis. Listeriosis is rare but serious when you’re pregnant. In 2011 57 pregnant women (out of 3.9 million) contracted it, leading to 30 fetal deaths. While it’s true soft cheese can be a carrier, recent outbreaks have also originated from contaminated ice cream, bean sprouts and even caramel apples.
When Listeria turns up in cheese, usually it’s in moist, soft cheese made with milk
that was improperly pasteurized or contaminated after pasteurization from a small-scale cheesemaking operation. But any cheese sold at your local grocery store, even if it’s ricotta, queso blano or raw-milk cheese, is very unlikely to be contaminated with the bacteria.