For cheese lovers and future moms out there, the thought of giving up cheese during pregnancy can be pretty daunting. Fortunately, there are still plenty of cheeses that are perfectly safe to eat while pregnant. Is Camembert cheese one of them?
Camembert cheese is only safe to eat during pregnancy if it’s cooked. This is the case even if it’s pasteurized. Mold-ripened soft cheeses like Camembert have the potential to contain harmful bacteria that could pose a risk of pregnancy complications for pregnant women.
Now you might be wondering how best to cook the cheese, and WHY Camembert is considered one of the few “unsafe cheeses”. We’ll explain that here, along with some tips on how you can still enjoy this delicious French cheese during pregnancy – with a few tweaks.
Is Camembert Cheese Pasteurized?
Most commercially made Camembert cheese available, especially in the US must by law be made from pasteurized milk (source: The New York Times).
Pregnant women often receive medical advice to avoid soft cheese like camembert cheese due to the risk of listeriosis, a foodborne illness. Listeriosis is caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which can sometimes be found in unpasteurized dairy products.
However, cold or uncooked Camembert cheese is still not safe for pregnant women to eat, even if it’s pasteurized.
Why is Camembert Best Avoided During Pregnancy?
Mold-ripened soft cheeses like Camembert are considered unsafe foods during pregnancy (source: NHS), and this applies even if they’re pasteurized.
This is because very soft, ripe cheeses like Camembert have very low acidity and higher water content, making them more prone to bacterial contamination. Although the odds of contamination are low, the risk for pregnant women is increased due to being immunocompromised during pregnancy (Source: Journal of Reproductive Immunology).
Foodborne illnesses like salmonella and listeriosis can affect pregnant women more severely than the rest of the population, so to reduce the risk, it’s much better to stick to either safe, hard cheeses or to cook your Camembert when you’re pregnant. More on this below.
Is Cooked Camembert Safe During Pregnancy?
Cooked Camembert is safe for pregnant women to eat as the cooking process will kill any harmful bacteria that may be present in the cheese.
The good news is that some Camembert dishes are absolutely delicious when cooked so there’s no need to miss out if you’re craving Camembert.
There are plenty of recipes that include Camembert cheese, so you’re sure to find one that you like. It can be baked, grilled, or even fried. Camembert can also be used in recipes like quiches or gratins.
As a general guide, to ensure the cheese is safe to eat, cook the Camembert until it’s gooey/liquid and steaming hot in the middle, all the way through. This is easy to tell if you’re baking it, but might get trickier if you’re deep-frying wedges of it, for example. If in doubt, heat it up more than you usually would (it’s very hard to overcook a Camembert in a short amount of time).
So, there you have it. Dip your favorite snacks in baked Camembert cheese or cook up a storm with this delicious cheese, safe in the knowledge that it’s perfectly safe for you to do so during pregnancy.