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Feta cheese etc OK when pregnant?

(68 Posts)
sprout Fri 28-Mar-03 14:32:34

I'm confused! Lots of on-line information sources and books say you should avoid blue-veined cheeses, ones like Brie & Cammembert, and Feta, as well as cheese made with unpasteurised milk when pg because of the risk of listeriosis. I've just asked my gynae, who said I only need to avoid things made from unpasteurised milk, but all the rest is OK. How do I know who to believe?

GRMUM, if you're out there, what do they tell pg women in Greece? Is feta OK or not?

jessi Fri 28-Mar-03 14:42:56

sprout you've got me worried now! I just had a feta cheese salad for lunch and am 27 weeks! It never occured to me feta was no go, hope someone who knows answers soon.

lou33 Fri 28-Mar-03 14:46:58

It never occured to me about feta either when I was pg, which was probably just as well because it was what I craved all the way through. I ate it almost daily. You can get various forms of feta in the supermarkets though, so maybe there is one which will be ok.

I seem to be good at craving things that are not allowed, the time before it was margaritas! Couldn't track any down luckily enough or it would have been very hard not to give in.

lucy123 Fri 28-Mar-03 15:05:28

sprout - I was told what your gaenacologist said - that you should avoid unpasteurised cheeses, but not the other ones you mention. Perhaps your other sources suggest avoiding those because they sometimes are made using unpasteurised milk?

Katherine Fri 28-Mar-03 15:32:19

I'd check on the packet. If you get things from supermarkets then they are often pasteurised (sp!) anyway. And even if they weren't you would have to be very lunlucky to get something which was contaminated. Remember this is a precaution rather than an essential so there is no need to panic.

forest Fri 28-Mar-03 20:52:18

Can you really eat Brie and Stilon then? They are 2 cheeses I love but have avoided them as I thought you couldn't eat them. As to feta I don't know. I was having this conversation with another pregnant friend today and she was of the opinion you couldn't eat it whereas I thought you could! Also she mentioned you shouldn't eat goats cheese - can you?

Oakmaiden Fri 28-Mar-03 21:08:18

Current advice (from the FSA) is to that"In order to avoid the risk of listeriosis pregnant women are advised to avoid eating ripened soft cheeses of the Brie, Camembert and blue veined types, whether pasteurised or unpasteurised." Feta, sadly, counts as a ripened soft cheese.

Apparently a pregnant woman has a far higher chance (*20) of becoming ill from listeriosis than a non-pregnant person. Listeriosis can cause miscarriage, premature labour and (I think I remember) stillbirth. However - just because you eat feta it doesn't mean that you WILL get listeriosis - and even if you do, it doesn't mean you will necessarily suffer extreme consequences. But there is a risk that you should be aware of before you decide what to eat. :-)

Wills Fri 28-Mar-03 21:09:49

The bbc food website is currently doing a one page review on what not to eat when pregnant. Talks about cheeses. Hope they don't mind this:

"Be warned that all soft, moist, mould-ripened, blue-veined cheeses, be they pasteurised or unpasteurised, and particularly rindless ones, provide a fertile breeding ground for this bacterium, making it important to avoid such cheeses completely until your baby's born. (Cottage cheese and other soft, processed cheeses are risk-free, however, as are unpasteurised hard cheeses like Pecorino, Manchego and Parmesan, along with pasteurised hard cheeses like Cheddar, which makes a savoury, sustaining lunch or snack when toasted on wholegrain bread and topped with roasted tomatoes.)"

Hope they don't mind and HTH

Wills Fri 28-Mar-03 21:11:01

I avoided Feta on the basis that I'm one of those people that the moment I take a chance it ALWAYS backfires. Its a shame because I adore Feta

SueW Fri 28-Mar-03 23:03:50

I was flicking through Jane Clarke's Body Foods for Life in WHS the other day and she suggests, IIRC, that cutting the rind off soft cheeses significantly reduces the risk of listeria.

Best to check it out in the book though. I have been known to mis-remember

GRMUM Sun 30-Mar-03 12:19:37

Hi Sprout.I was never told to avoid feta, only to avoid blue cheeses.I've just rung a few other friends and nobody has been told to avoid feta.I will try and find out more though.

Marina Sun 30-Mar-03 19:49:58

Wills, I could kiss you. We've been using Pecorino and I DIDN'T think to check if it was OK. I somehow felt because of its extreme hardness, it was, but how nice to see it written down. Jury still out on feta, it seems.

Oakmaiden Sun 30-Mar-03 20:27:04

Well, the only site I found that specifically mentioned feta had it on the "aviod" list. It was a US site - http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/lm_tearsheet.pdf

clucks Mon 31-Mar-03 00:20:59

I have been stuffing myself with Feta this time, although avoided all soft cheeses last time. I think the m/w confused me by telling me to avoid blue-veined and unpasturised. I think all is well but will miss my cheese.

sprout Mon 31-Mar-03 08:00:59

Well, thanks for all those comments. I can't say I'm any the wiser (still confused!), but I suppose it comes down to just how cautious you want to be. There seem to be some obvious culprits (non pasteurised milk etc) and some ones with a lower, but still present, risk. Just to add to my paranoia I discovered yesterday, that the hard, prepacked Emmentaler cheese in our fridge (substitute for Cheddar, which is hard to get in Belgium) was made from un-pasteurised milk... Agggh!
I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and stick to Philadelphia for 9 months, but what about our holiday in Greece...?

Marina Mon 31-Mar-03 08:56:33

Sprout, isn't President pre-packed Emmental made from pasteurised milk? It's widely available in France, I know. Agree it is not really the same as "real" Emmenthal though.

GRMUM Mon 31-Mar-03 11:31:04

A friend of mine asked her gynaecologist(female and european but not Greek) this morning about this.She said feta is fine if its from pasturised milk.Which would,I think, include most fetas sold outside Greece as they will be pre-packaged.Check the pack it should say if its made with pasturised milk.To anyone coming here on holiday I would suggest being more careful in tavernas (especially small ones in little out of the way villages) as they are more likely to be offering locally made feta from non-pasturised milk.Over here I would say if in doubt resist.HTH

Rkayne Mon 31-Mar-03 11:38:25

I remember asking this the first time I was pregnant and the answer was the feta is ok as it is not a soft ripened cheese or a blue-veined cheese. It is actually a hard cheese and as long as it's pastuerized it's fine. I had a list the last time and feta was specifically mentioned as being ok, but now I can't remember where that list came from!

in any case I went through Greek salad craving for a few weeks early in this preg. and it certainly hasn't done me any harm!

NQWWW Mon 31-Mar-03 14:33:09

I've been avoiding feta cheese without really knowing whether I should be, even though I've been craving it (and halloumi cheese even more so - does anyone know about this?).

Wish I'd read Wills' post re parmesan earlier as I've been avoiding that too.

Wills Mon 31-Mar-03 16:52:56

RKayne, its not that all unpasturised cheese will harm you or the baby just that they have a higher risk. A friend of mine refused point blank to make any changes to her diet and continued eating soft eggs and cheese all the way through. I just feel that I'm one of those people that the moment I take a risk something is bound to happen. Wish I had the same luck on the lottery.

WideWebWitch Mon 14-Jul-03 14:08:58

Is it OK to eat Prosciutto? Eek, I've just eaten a roll containing 2 slices of it and it didn't cross my mind til it was too late. Ditto 'proper' French dry cured pork salami, I've just eaten some of that too (and have eaten quite a bit of it this pregnancy, didn't cross my mind that I shouldn't until now). It's too late to worry about what I've already eaten but I'd still like to know. Also, what is the disease one's risking with it if it is banned? TIA to anyone who knows.

bells2 Mon 14-Jul-03 14:49:34

Hi WWW. Prosciutto and parma ham etc are usually recommended as foods to be avoided during pregnancy because of the small risk of contracting toxoplasmosis as the meat is cured but not cooked as such. If however you have you have previously made a habit of eating rare meat, you will in all likelihood have already been exposed and so will be immune. I wouldn't worry too much about it if I were you.

LucieB Mon 14-Jul-03 15:55:48

I bought some Feta from Sainsburys last week and it was made with pasteurised milk so am sure its ok. Ate it at a BBQ on Sat and feel fine!!!

princesspeahead Mon 14-Jul-03 16:17:52

Interesting thread as I ate Feta and prosciutto for lunch! I'm greek and have been eating feta throughout on the basis that what I've eaten has been pasteurised. I don't really think of it as a soft cheese. I can't imagine it is risky for listeriosis if it is pasteurised, is it?

Oh dear. I've been going through several packets a week - greek salad is the only thing I've felt like eating in this heat. Oh, and watermelon!

nobby Mon 14-Jul-03 16:38:26

I've been eating both halloumi and feta - but making sure that both are made with pasteurised milk. I'm really craving halloumi at the moment in particular - barbecued with slices of aubergine (yum). I've gone off most meats this pregnancy so I needed a barbecue substitute...

I reckoned they were fine if pasteurised although I don't eat them when I'm out. God, I hope so.

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