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Can you eat feta cheese when pregnant?

Feta cheese is a type of soft cheese, and pregnant individuals are often advised to avoid certain types of soft cheeses due to the risk of Listeria contamination. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that can cause listeriosis, which can be harmful during pregnancy. However, feta cheese is somewhat variable, and the safety depends on its pasteurization status.

Here are some guidelines for consuming feta cheese during pregnancy:

  • Pasteurized Feta:
    • If the feta cheese is made from pasteurized milk, it is generally considered safe to eat during pregnancy. Pasteurization involves heating the milk to kill harmful bacteria, including Listeria.
  • Unpasteurized Feta:
    • It's advisable to avoid consuming feta cheese made from unpasteurized milk during pregnancy. Unpasteurized cheeses have a higher risk of carrying harmful bacteria, including Listeria, which can pose a risk to both the pregnant person and the developing fetus.
  • Feta in Cooked Dishes:
    • Feta cheese used in cooked dishes, such as baked pasta or casseroles, is considered safer than consuming it raw. Cooking at high temperatures can help eliminate bacteria, including Listeria.
  • Check Labels:
    • Always check the label on the feta cheese packaging to confirm whether it is made from pasteurized milk. Most commercially available feta cheeses are pasteurized, but it's essential to verify.

As with any dietary concerns during pregnancy, it's recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice based on your health and circumstances.