When you’re expecting a baby, you become hyper-alert that the food you once enjoyed may be off the table during your pregnancy. However one of the foods that can cause confusion is the delicious treat that is cheesecake during pregnancy.
The confusion lies in the ingredients that may or may not be present in cheesecakes. This is because of harmful bacteria. The NHS states that “Unpasteurised dairy products may contain listeria. This bacteria can cause an infection called listeriosis.”
“Eating unpasteurised foods when pregnant can be extremely dangerous as unpasteurised foods such as soft cheeses may contain dangerous bacteria including one that can actually cause tuberculosis and listeria, these can both cross over into the placenta and lead to infections, blood poisoning in the baby and even miscarriage,” Jana Abelovska Medical Advisor at Click Pharmacy tells us.
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To put it simply, unbaked cheesecakes that contain raw or partially cooked eggs or unpasteurised cream cheese or toppings made from unpasteurised cream or milk are a no-no.
Dairy to most definitely to be avoided for pregnant women include:
- Mould-ripened soft cheeses (e.g. Brie and Camembert).
- Soft blue cheese (e.g. Danish blue and Gorgonzola).
- Any unpasteurised cow’s milk, goats’ milk or sheep’s milk.
- Any foods made from unpasteurised milk.
But what exactly is pasteurisation? “Pasteurisation is a process in which foods such as milk or fruit juice are treated with mild heat, usually under 100 degrees Celsius which works to eliminate pathogens and extend shelf life,” Jana explains. “Many supermarket products go through the pasteurisation process to give them a longer shelf life for storing in supermarkets.”
As a general rule of thumb, it is usually easiest to look out for baked cheesecake. Whether these are fresh or frozen does not make a difference.
Baked cheesecakes that contain raw or partially cooked eggs or unpasteurised cream cheese or toppings made from unpasteurised cream or milk are ok for you enjoy as they have been baked which means that the temperature of the oven will kill any salmonella that may be present, which removes the risk to you.
If an unbaked cheesecake does not contain:
- Raw eggs or partially cooked egg
- Unpasturised cheese or other ingredients
Then this is also fine for you to eat as it does not contain any risk of experiencing salmonella or food poisoning.
When in doubt, always check the ingredients. If you are at a restaurant or friend’s house and they offer cheesecake, if you cannot check the ingredients yourself, it may be wise to avoid it just to be safe.
The good news is that the majority of UK supermarkets offer delicious cheesecake you can enjoy while pregnant. So dig in!