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Pregnancy at holiday parties is frustrating at best. Not only are you advised to avoid alcohol, but you should also be careful with the buffet, avoid certain meats, and even avoid soft cheeses like Camembert and Brie.
The concern about soft cheeses is that they are an ideal breeding ground for Listeria, the bacteria that causes listeriosis. It can enter cheese through unpasteurized milk or during packaging.
And because pregnancy suppresses your immune system, pregnant women are more likely to develop listeriosis after eating something that contains listeria. In healthy people, listeriosis presents with flu-like symptoms such as vomiting or fever. But if you are pregnant, it can be dangerous to the baby, even causing a miscarriage or stillbirth. Therefore, Health Canada recommends avoiding soft cheese during pregnancy.
Is pasteurized brie safe during pregnancy?
Different countries have different regulations regarding the safety of brie and whether it can be pasteurized. These:
In the UK, women are not advised to eat brie during pregnancy because it is a soft cheese with mold. This is true even if it is made from pasteurized milk.
In Canada, it's the same: women are told to avoid all soft cheeses like brie, even if they are pasteurized.
In the US, the FDA says you can safely eat brie during pregnancy, but only if it's made with pasteurized milk.
In Australia, pregnant women are advised to avoid brie, even if pasteurized.
In New Zealand, pregnant women are advised not to eat large amounts of raw brie, but that's okay if it's made with pasteurized milk.
What about France, the homeland of Brie itself? The French government claims that brie can be taken during pregnancy if it is made from pasteurized milk.
Can pregnant women eat cooked brie?
It is safe for pregnant women to eat brie until it gets hot.
Hot steam means the brie should be cooked or heated to about 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 C).
At this temperature, any dangerous bacteria in the food will be destroyed and the cheese will be safe to eat.
Listeria is disgusting. This causes fever and diarrhea, confusion, seizures and headaches, the CDC noted. This can cause loss of balance or muscle pain and weakness. This disease is only transmitted through the consumption of contaminated food, so in most cases it can be prevented. It is treated with strong antibiotics, which carry their own risks and are more likely to affect the very young, very old, pregnant, or other immunocompromised people.
When you're not pregnant, you can live on the edge. Eat tons of raw brie, soft blue cheese sprinkled over your rare burger, scraping off the stickiest bits of creamy goat cheese with a cracker. However, this should not be done when you are pregnant, but if you heat it up and therefore soften it even more, everything will be fine. And let's be completely honest: what cheese doesn't get better if you show all its qualities by melting it and watching the threads of this gift of the milk gods stretch from each other as they reach your mouth? Pro tip: they are all like that.
So, can you eat baked brie during pregnancy? Sure, but why limit yourself to just baked brie? While brie sprinkled with honey and walnuts, wrapped in puff pastry and baked is classic and delicious, it's not the only option for hot cheesy goodness. If you crave soft cheeses and bake something in your own oven, why not consider a hot blue cheese sauce? Have you ever tried fried Camembert? Did you even know that this is a thing? It. What about freshly baked feta cigars? It's all wrapped in crispy phyllo dough and so salty that your pregnant mouth will thank you.
But seriously. Foods such as soft cheeses, cold cuts, and unwashed foods pose real risks to pregnant women. Make sure you heat your meats and cheeses to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and wash your fruits and vegetables to hell - even if the salad says "washed three times." The best thing to do is to do a “four-time wash”. After that, tie a napkin around the neck and tuck in.