Is cheesecake safe in pregnancy?
Solving the puzzle over whether it's safe to eat homemade cheesecake, baked cheesecake, and shop-bought cheesecake when pregnant
In a nutshell
Yes and no. If it's an uncooked cheesecake and is made from soft cheese that has not been pasteurised, it's unsafe.
The expert view
There appears to be a lot of confusion around cheesecake, but there are simple rules to follow:
Unsafe - Uncooked cheesecake made with unpasteurised soft cheese
Could be a risk - Cheesecake made with raw or unpasteurised egg
Safe - Cheesecake made with cooked egg, eg baked cheesecake
Safe - Uncooked cheesecake that doesn't contain egg and contains cheese made from pasteurised milk
- The reason that soft unpasteurised cheese should be avoided is the risk of listeriosis from the bacteria listeria.
- The reason cheesecake made with raw egg is not recommended is because there could be a risk of salmonella. However, a new report (Jan 2016) states that British Lion marked eggs carry only a "very low" risk of salmonella and therefore can even be eaten raw during pregnancy
If you're unsure, look on the packaging or ask the staff in the shop or restaurant. You're looking to avoid cheese made with unpasteurised milk and look out for raw or undercooked egg,
The majority of mass-produced cheesecake from supermarkets will be made with pasteurised egg and pasteurised soft cheese, which will be safe.
Nutritionist Dr Rana Conway explains, “If you buy cheesecake, custard or creme brulee from a supermarket, it should be fine as it will be made with pasteurised egg."
Cheesecake may sometimes be made with ricotta or mascarpone cheese, both of which are safe to eat in pregnancy as long as they are pasteurised.
"Desserts such as homemade mousses are often made with raw eggs, while homemade custard or creme brulee usually contains semi-cooked eggs, so these are also a risk,” adds Dr Rana.
Mums in our forum say
“My hubby is so concerned about his lo! It's sweet but sooo annoying! Last time I was at the pub, his mum and I ordered a Mars bar cheesecake and as it arrived he decided I could not have it as he wasn't sure mascarpone was safe. By the time I got my phone out and checked, the cheesecake had been eaten... I was gutted!” Minnie76
“I had a major craving for cheesecake a few weeks ago and all I said was "hmmmm cheesecake" and my hubby said he would jump in the car and nip to the 24hr Tesco. This was about 9:30pm at night and when he got there he phoned to tell me all the flavours they had and which one I wanted, bless him! This is our second baby so I think he may have learned from the first.” El_pinko
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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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