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Paula Kashtan

Are Soft Cheeses Safe During Pregnancy?

Is it time to bid adieu to brie, feta and other soft cheeses? Here's the deal.

You've probably heard that it's eating soft cheese during pregnancy can be harmful. It’s not the cheese itself that can be harmful; it’s the process that’s used to make it. Before you chow down on cheese, check the ingredient label and make sure it’s made from pasteurized milk.

Unpasteurized cheeses can contain disease-spreading organisms that’ll put you and baby at a higher risk for getting sick. They also can carry listeria monocytogenes, deadly bacterium that are more likely to affect pregnant women. Pasteurization is what kills this nasty bacteria (along with other bad organisms). Varieties like Brie, feta and goat cheese are most likely to be pasteurized in the United States, but it's always worth it to double check. Just make sure to read the label before you buy!