In a nutshell

Yes, these soft cheeses are safe - as long as they are pasteurised.


The expert view

One minute you’re being told to avoid soft cheese, and the next your trusted pregnancy bible is telling you to eat a jacket potato with cottage cheese. So which is right?

Well both, in a way. Soft, mould-ripened cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert and Chevre, should be avoided because of the risk of listeriosis.

But soft cheeses such as cottage cheese, Ricotta, Mascarpone and Philadelphia are totally fine for your lunchtime sarnie as long as you check they are pasteurised, advises the NHS.

Soft cheeses that are safe to eat during pregnancy include:

  • Cottage cheese
  • Mozzarella
  • Feta
  • Cream cheese - including Philadelphia
  • Paneer
  • Ricotta
  • Mascarpone
  • Halloumi
  • Processed cheese such as Dairylea, Laughing Cow, Primula
  • Quark
  • Boursin

"These cheeses have a high moisture content, but they are generally pasteurised and then packaged," points out nutritionist Dr Rana Conway. "It is best to buy these cheeses pre-packaged and make sure they are eaten before the use-by date. Avoid buying them from delicatessen counters or similar stalls where cross-contamination from other foods may occur."

Mums in our forum say

"I'm just not up to speed on the do's and dont's in terms of eating cheese. I don't eat the blue cheeses or any soft cheese so no problem there but I was half way through a cookies and cream cheesecake last night and had a panic that I might not be allowed it..." - MissDeedee


"My midwife said that you can eat brie and stilton etc as long as it's pasteurised (not many of them are). Apparently Sainsburys do it. If you have cravings for it, it might be worth trying to find x" - pudding_83


Magda Ibrahim is a freelance writer who has written for publications including The Times and Sunday Times, The Sun, and the London Evening Standard, as well for MadeForMums.