Are Stilton and other blue cheeses safe in pregnancy?
What makes Stilton OK to eat in pregnancy, when other blue-veined cheeses are not safe?
In a nutshell
Blue cheese is generally not safe in pregnancy, except for Stilton. Stilton is safe to eat.
The expert view
Pregnant women should avoid eating soft blue-veined cheeses as they can contain higher levels of the listeria bacteria, which can cause listeriosis – possibly leading to miscarriage and stillbirth.
Examples of these cheeses that are not safe include:
- Blue brie
- Danish blue
But, these can be eaten if they are cooked, as long as they are cooked carefully so that they are steaming hot all the way through.
Stilton is a bit of an anomaly, as it is a hard cheese, which is why it's deemed safe. The NHS advises that it’s fine to eat, because it has a lower moisture content and is more acidic, meaning it’s far less likely to harbour listeria bacteria, which can cause listeriosis. Even Stilton made with unpasteurised milk is fine.
Nutritionist Dr Rana Conway, author of What to Eat When You're Pregnant, says: "Feta cheese makes a good substitute for Camembert or Danish blue and its strong flavour means it’s perfect for salads or wraps.”
What do mums on our forum say?
"It is a bit of a minefield. I've been eating feta, mozerella and parmesan throughout, along with other hard cheeses like cheddar.
"Also been eating lots of smoked salmon and prawns, which I believe some people have been avoiding too. Thanks George35 for the above post - it's useful to know that COOKED brie & stilton is OK, as I had been wondering about this myself. Can't beat a nice juicy steak with blue cheese sauce - though I know I'm supposed to have the steak well done!" - babycakes-36671
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.
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