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Are hard cheeses safe to eat during pregnancy?

Yes, hard cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy. Although it’s possible for hard cheeses to contain listeria bacteria, they’re in such low numbers.

Yes, hard cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy. Although it’s possible for hard cheeses to contain listeria bacteria, they’re in such low numbers (less than one bacterium per gram of cheese) that they’re not considered to be a health risk to you or your unborn baby.

Listeria bacteria can cause an infection called listeriosis.

Cheeses that are safe to eat during pregnancy

Hard cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy, even if they’re made with unpasteurised milk. These include: 

  • cheddar
  • edam
  • emmental
  • gouda
  • gruyère
  • jarlsberg
  • parmesan
  • stilton 

Other types of cheese are also safe to eat during pregnancy, but make sure they’re made from pasteurised milk. These include:

  • cottage cheese
  • mozzarella
  • feta
  • cream cheese including mascarpone
  • quark
  • paneer
  • ricotta
  • halloumi
  • some types of goats’ cheese 
  • processed cheese, such as cheese spreads

Cheeses to avoid during pregnancy

Pregnant women should avoid eating mould-ripened soft cheeses and soft blue-veined cheeses as they can contain higher levels of listeria. Examples of these cheeses include:

  • brie and blue brie
  • camembert
  • chèvre (a type of goats’ cheese) 
  • Danish blue
  • gorgonzola
  • roquefort

For more information, see Why can’t I eat soft cheeses during pregnancy?

Read the answers to more questions about pregnancy.

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