Can You Eat Mozzarella During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, women must be very vigilant of the type of food they eat. Some foods are normally harmless to eat, but pregnant women should be careful about them, because these foods may do harm to the mother and the baby. Certain cheeses are among the food list that pregnant women should avoid. So, is mozzarella cheese safe to eat during pregnancy?

Can You Eat Mozzarella During Pregnancy?

It all depends on whether the mozzarella cheese was made from pasteurized milk or not. If it is made from pasteurized milk, it is completely safe to eat. If not, pregnant women should avoid eating it, because there is a high risk of getting listeria which will cause severe complications including miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature delivery. The process of pasteurization can kill listeria, therefore, you can eat pasteurized mozzarella when you are pregnant.

What to Do

  • Choose pasteurized mozzarella: When buying your cheese, make sure to read the labels thoughtfully to know for certain if the product was pasteurized. If you notice that the cheese is surrounded by liquid, then it may not be a safe choice. While in a restaurant, you can ask the waiter or cook what kind of cheese they use, and if you still have any doubt of its safety, you'd better avoid it.
  • Know the symptoms of listeria: This infection can go unnoticed for days or even weeks. Some of the symptoms are very similar to a flu, including muscle ache, fever, diarrhea and digestive discomfort. If left untreated, it can progress to severe headaches, stiff neck, decrease of consciousness, and convulsions. You should consult your doctor immediately if any of these symptoms appear. Early treatment by your doctor can significantly reduce the health risk for you and your baby.
  • Make mozzarella at home: You can safely make your own cheese at home. You just have to be absolutely certain that you use pasteurized milk. Using raw milk even if it comes from your own cattle can lead to a high risk of contracting the bacteria. The utensils, pots and kitchen must be clean in order to avoid cross-contamination by potentially harmful germs.

How to Make Mozzarella at Home

Can you eat mozzarella during pregnancy? Now you know the answer and know that making mozzarella at home is a good choice. Here is how to do.

1. Ingredients

  • 1 gallon pasteurized milk
  • 1 half small spoon of citric acid
  • 1 fourth cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet

2. Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Thermometer
  • Five quarts non-reactive pot
  • Microwavable bowl
  • Rubber Gloves
  • 8" knife or similar cutting instrument
  • A spoon with several slots or holes

3. Instructions

  • Prepare the rennet and the citric acid: First dissolve the citric acid in 1 cup of water. In a separate bowl, dissolve the rennet in one fourth cup of water.
  • Heat the milk: First you have to pour the milk in the pot, and then mix with the solution of citric acid. Put this pot on heat until it reaches 90°F.
  • Introduce the rennet: Turn off the heat. Pour the rennet solution in the pot and keep stirring for 30 seconds, and then cover it up and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Cut curds: The milk should be soft and set after 5 minutes. However, if it still has liquid content, you should re-cover the pot and let it rest for 5 more minutes. After that, cut the set milk into little curds.
  • Cook the little curds: Put the pot over medium heat until it reaches 105°F. Slowly stir everything without breaking the curds too much. They will clump together, separating from the yellow whey.
  • Stir everything after removing the curds from the heat: Take everything out of the heat while stirring slowly for five minutes or more.
  • Separate whey and curd: Scoop the curds into a big bowl with the slotted spoon.
  • Microwave the curds: Do this for 1 minute. This helps drain off the whey. After that, fold the curds for a few times. Then, keep microwaving the curds for 30 seconds and wait for the temperature to reach 135°F. 
  • Shape the mozzarella: Put some salt on the cheese and use your hands to squish the cheese in order to join everything together. Keep stretching and folding curds until they become firm. This is the right time to shape the mozzarella as you like. Be careful to not overwork on the cheese at this point.
  • Store the mozzarella: If you did all the steps right, the cheese can be used immediately. If you prefer, it can be kept in the refrigerator for 7 days. It is important to place the cheese inside a small container, and you can pour the mix of salt and whey on mozzarella to help keep the flavor.

Cheeses That Are Safe to Eat During Pregnancy

Eating pasteurized Mozzarella during pregnancy is safe, and here is a list of other cheeses that are safe to eat.

1. Hard Cheese


This group includes cheeses such as cheddar, Gouda, Provolone, Havarti, Gruyere, Manchego, Edam, Parmesan, Manchego and Emmental, etc. They are characterized by a firm texture. Because during the preparation and maturation of these cheeses, they are always well pasteurized, they are considered to be safe to eat during pregnancy.

2. Certain Soft Cheese


Some soft cheeses or semi-soft cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy as they are made from pasteurized milk, including cream cheese, ricotta, feta, camembert, mascarpone, cottage cheese, goat cheese, etc. This group of cheese usually has a watery and very fragile texture. 

Cheeses That You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

You know that eating unpasteurized Mozzarella during pregnancy is not safe, so what are other cheeses that you should avoid when you are pregnant?

1. Brie Cheese

 

This is a very common cheese that is mostly eaten with bread or crackers, but it is made with unpasteurized milk which can lead to several problems as mentioned before.

2. Blue Cheese

Most commonly eaten with salads or pasta, this is another type of cheese that is made from unpasteurized milk. 

3. Processed Cheese


These kinds of cheeses are industrially modified by adding preservatives. The large amounts of sodium added while processing them can be harmful for pregnant women, causing an increase in blood pressure.

4. Queso Fresco

It is a very common unpasteurized soft cheese that is widely used in Mexican restaurants. 

 
 
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