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Cheeses on holidays in France

(21 Posts)
MiniLlace Wed 19-Aug-09 12:10:32

DH and I am heading to champagne for a long weekend with a group of friends when I will be 32 weeks pregnant. Each of the evenings we are having lovely french meals which invariably will include a cheese course ... knowing the french most will be unpasturised .. so here is my dillema - do I avoid it like the plague or do I risk it? .. what have others done ... in my heart of hearts i know the answer - but the greedy cheese pig in me cant help wondering - will a little unpasturised cheese matter all that much? ... thoughts welcome grin

MrsBadger Wed 19-Aug-09 12:30:52

don't do it

Listeria is one of the few (very few) bugs that can actually make it across the placenta. Most of the other food advice (runny eggs, shellfish etc) are because other food poisoning bacteria like salmonella will make you feel like crap, but listeria can actually harm the baby.

have some lovely fruit instead

katster37 Wed 19-Aug-09 12:50:49

Couldn't agree more with MrsBadger. You are much more susceptible to listeria when pregnant and it can do very nasty things to the baby. I recently had food poisoning from a tuna pizza (from a well-respected Italian restaurant) of all things, and know that you definitely feel more rubbish with normal food poisoning when pregnant, but I knew that the baby was OK throughout my frequent visits to the toilet! Listeria is another matter altogether though, so I really wouldn't take the chance. Having said that, I know that Coeur de Lion's camembert is pasteurised, but it is still a soft mould-ripened cheese so you still should steer clear...
Have extra pudding instead!

MiniLlace Wed 19-Aug-09 12:53:39

oooh katster37 good option about extra puddings -- thanks ladies you have just said what i did already know but was wanting not to accept ...

CountessDracula Wed 19-Aug-09 12:54:54

Isn't it fine if it is hard cheese?

castille Wed 19-Aug-09 12:55:55

A lot of French cheeses are pasteurised, but you won't know which ones are and aren't at a restaurant

So I wouldn't.

But then I don't like cheese.

And I live in Franceshock

castille Wed 19-Aug-09 12:57:39

Countess - some hard cheeses are are made with raw unpasteurised milk too - some would say the best ones are.

So you can't be 100% sure unless you've seen the packaging.

skihorse Wed 19-Aug-09 14:24:29

I've just googled "listeria outbreak" and

The first site which popped up was a bbc report - from the year 2000

The second was from the independent - from 1992

It doesn't seem to be a huge risk does it? This is stuff which makes headlines when it does happen because it's so uncommon.

MrsBadger Wed 19-Aug-09 14:37:30

yes but it's about risk assessment

The risk might be low, but the outcome might be awful (eg listeria, car accident, lightning strike)

The risk might be low and the outcome not too bad (accidently dropping best decanter)

Or the risk might be high but the outcome not too bad (eg toddler drawing on walls)

So always use car seats
Use the best decanter only at Christmas
Have Flash erasers on hand permanently

don't put yourself in harm's way unneccessarily

and besides, one case of listeria isn;t an 'outbreak'

SpawnChorus Wed 19-Aug-09 14:49:25

You're still "allowed" unpasteurised hard cheeses. They must surely have some delicious hard cheeses in France?

some info from a cheese-maker

skihorse Wed 19-Aug-09 14:51:05

You're right, it's about risk.

Say there is a joint population of the UK + France of 120,000,000 people. In the last 17 years there have been ~50 cases.

2 times a week 100,000,000 people eat cheese (not just unpasteurised).

So, in 17 years, we have a cheese-eating situation of:

(17 x 52 x 2 x 100,000,000) / 17

That's a one in 10,400,000,000 of having a listeria infection.

Do you feel lucky punk - well do ya? If you are feeling that lucky can you give me 6 random numbers between 1 and 48? wink

<chomps on cheese sarnie>

skihorse Wed 19-Aug-09 14:52:38

Sorry, I bummed up my maths, divide the figure by 50 - give yourself a 1 in 208,000,000 chance.

NoGoodNicknamesLeft Wed 19-Aug-09 15:00:09

listeria needs moisture and low acidity to grow, so old, harder cheeses which have a low moisture content and higher acidity (even if made from unpasteurised milk) are fine too as well as the processed crap we're "allowed" to eat. Also hot cooked cheese is fine, so bring on the deep-fried brie.

SpawnChorus Wed 19-Aug-09 15:17:24

Actually 1 in 20,000 pregnancies are affected by listeria. Still a v tiny risk, but not one that I am happy to take.

blondieminx Wed 19-Aug-09 16:05:09

Does anyone happen to know if you're supposed to avoid mould-ripened cheeses while breastfeeding as well?

I have resisted the brie while preggers (am coming up for 20 weeks) but had been planning a lovely toasted ciabatta with brie, red onion marmelade and a smidge of cranberry sauce (can you tell I've been dreaming about it?! grin) until I suddenly thought ooh, what if you're not allowed brie when breastfeeding as well.....

TaxiLady Wed 19-Aug-09 16:14:28

isn't it only a risk to the baby early in pregnancy??

All the listeria stuff was just making an appearance when i had my lot!

londonlottie Wed 19-Aug-09 17:04:04

Message withdrawn

SpawnChorus Wed 19-Aug-09 17:16:40

Fine when BFing grin

Unfortunately it's not only early pregnancy though.

longwayaway Wed 19-Aug-09 17:52:15

I took a long weekend trip to Paris during my 2nd tri. Decided not to worry about the cheese... or the chocolate mousse

I think with the odds of listeria poisoning so low, one weekend won't hurt. If it's served in a restaurant I imagine the odds are even lower as they'll take extra precautions against food poisoning that ordinary people in their kitchens wouldn't.

It just comes down to your personal comfort with the level of risk involved.

BexJ78 Wed 19-Aug-09 23:32:31

we went to paris when i was about 14 weeks in may, for our 10 year anniversary, and i had to miss out on all the lovely cheese and oysters and other yummy food. I had a couple of glasses of wine whilst we were there, but that was it. i am still really missing it all now, but once DC has arrived i am going to eat a mountain of cheese, pate, rare steak and oysters...

CountessDracula Thu 20-Aug-09 16:44:28

Sorry no I meant that unpasteurised hard cheeses are fine, are they not?

It's only soft cheese that's a prob

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