Is Provolone Cheese Safe During Pregnancy?

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Written by Shandra Williams

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With so many restrictions around unpasteurized dairy when pregnant, you might have wondered if you can still enjoy the tasty, bold cheese that is provolone.

Provolone cheese is safe to eat during pregnancy. Besides being made from pasteurized milk, this type of cheese is also a hard cheese. This means that the likelihood of having Listeria, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning, is very low.

Is all provolone cheese made from pasteurized milk? What goes with provolone cheese that you can eat during pregnancy? Let’s explore the answers…

Is Provolone a Safe Cheese to Eat When Pregnant?

As long as the provolone cheese you’re eating is made from pasteurized milk, it is perfectly safe to eat during pregnancy. Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a high temperature for a brief time, killing any harmful bacteria that may be present (source: Raw Milk, 2019 Journal).

two provolone cheese

In addition to being made from pasteurized milk, provolone is also a hard cheese. Hard cheeses have a lower moisture content than soft cheeses, which makes them less hospitable to bacteria (source: National Health Services).

So, even if there was some Listeria present in the milk used to make provolone, it’s unlikely to survive in the finished cheese. The aging process that goes with hard cheeses, such as provolone, also contributes to its safety, longevity, and taste.

The flavor of provolone cheese intensifies as it ages. Provolone cheese has a bold, sharp flavor that is both salty and slightly sweet. Check out this article if you want to learn more about other cheeses safe for consumption during pregnancy.

In addition, the storage and handling of provolone cheese are essential factors to consider when determining its safety. Most commercially-produced cheeses, including provolone, come with safe handling instructions.

These usually include suggestions like keeping the cheese refrigerated, wrapping it tightly, and consuming it within a certain number of days after opening.

As long as you follow these instructions and any others on the package, the provolone cheese you’re eating is safe.

Is Provolone Pasteurized?

All provolone cheese available in the US and UK must be made from pasteurized milk as per the law (source: National Geographic).

So, you don’t have to worry about the provolone cheese you’re buying from the store. If you’re ever in doubt, check the label – it should clearly state if the milk used was pasteurized or not.

The risk of listeria (associated with using unpasteurized milk) is a particular concern for pregnant women because it can cross the placenta and infect the unborn baby, causing a severe illness called listeriosis (source: CDC).

However, in some parts of the world, such as Italy, where provolone cheese originated, some artisanal cheese-makers still produce unpasteurized provolone cheese using traditional methods. But don’t worry, provolone cheese is a hard cheese, and hard cheeses have a lower moisture content, making them less hospitable to bacteria.

So, even if there was some Listeria present in the milk used to make provolone, it’s unlikely to survive within the finished cheese product.

two slices of provolone cheese

What About Other Provolone Products When Pregnant?

Provolone cheese is originally from Italy but is now produced and gaining popularity in many parts of the world, including the United States. You can find different types of provolone cheeses easily accessible in grocery stores.

Provolone is a versatile cheese that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Here are a few ideas for incorporating it into your pregnancy diet: 

  • Slice it up and enjoy it with crackers as a snack.
  • Add it to a sandwich or wrap for a quick and easy lunch.
  • Top a pizza with it for a delicious and cheesy dinner.
  • Make homemade mac and cheese using provolone as one of the cheeses.

So, there you have it – everything you need to know about provolone cheese and pregnancy. Rest assured that it is perfectly safe to eat during pregnancy. So enjoy a delicious slice of provolone on your next cheeseboard!