Are Soft Vegan Cheeses Okay to Eat During Pregnancy?
by Diane R
I'm wondering if soft vegan cheeses (specifically those made from nut milks, that resemble a goat chevre in consistency) are safe to eat during pregnancy? Is there a risk of listeria contamination with these?
Yes! This is a really interesting question that I never actually considered, but we can definitely eat any kind of nut milk cheese we desire at any point in time, even during pregnancy.
The reason soft cheeses are on the Do Not Eat list is because they are unpasteurized. Pasteurization is when the milk is brought to a high temperature to kill off bacteria like listeria. When raw milk is used to make cheese, like for unpasteurized soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, unpasteurized feta, blue cheese, queso blanco, and queso fresco, there's a higher chance of contracting listeriosis.
I have a page on Vegan Momma about which foods to avoid during pregnancy, and luckily most of it is non-vegan. You do have to be sure to wash vegetables and I try to consume only organic, local vegetables to ensure they're being treated well. Unfortunately, even vegetables sometimes get recalled for listeria, E coli, and other bacteria, but we can't tell when that might happen so it's not worth worrying about in excess.