There are certain cheeses you should avoid when you’re expecting, but is Babybel cheese OK to eat while pregnant?
I guess it comes with the territory, unfair as it is, that there are certain foods you should steer clear of when you’re pregnant.
And cheese is one of those foods that typically falls somewhere in the middle.
What I mean is some cheeses are fine to eat while pregnant, whereas others should be avoided altogether.
In this article, I’d like to discuss whether it’s OK to eat Babybel while pregnant, plus I’ll also reveal a few important tidbits that you may not be aware of.
It is absolutely fine to eat Babybel while pregnant. You’re typically told to avoid soft or unpasteurized cheese when pregnant. The reason for this is due to the increased risk of listeria contamination. However, Babybel cheeses are considered hard or semi-hard, and they are all made from pasteurized milk.
1. Are Babybel Cheeses Pasteurized?
You’re probably already aware that you should generally avoid soft or unpasteurized cheeses while pregnant.
The main reason for this is due to the risk of listeria contamination.
Basically, pasteurization is simply the process of treating milk with heat.
The aim here is to destroy pathogens, such as salmonella, listeria, etc.
There is actually something known as the “60-day Rule” for cheese.
It states that if a cheese is less than 60 days old, then it must be made from pasteurized milk.
However, when aged for longer than 60 days, the cheese may be made with pasteurized or unpasteurized milk.
That being said, it is estimated that approximately 99% of all cheese produced in the US is now made from pasteurized milk.
And this even includes certain soft cheeses that are generally deemed unsafe for expectant mothers.
As an example, soft cheese like mozzarella, ricotta, and feta are now made from pasteurized milk.
Additionally, even soft cheese spreads, such as Laughing Cow, Camembert, Brie, etc., are also made from pasteurized milk nowadays.
So, you can rest assured that Babybel is made from pasteurized milk and is therefore deemed safe to eat while pregnant.
2. Is Soft Cheese Safe When Pregnant?
Okay, so you’re now aware that if a cheese is made from pasteurized milk, then this is considered “pregnancy-safe.”
And the main reason for this is the pasteurization process treats milk with heat, thus killing any harmful bacteria.
So, Babybel is fine, as all their cheeses are made from pasteurized milk.
Now, just to confuse matters, I’ve mentioned that soft cheese should be avoided during pregnancy.
And most expectant mothers are told to completely avoid soft cheeses, even if they have been made from pasteurized milk.
Plus, as I’ve mentioned, the vast majority of cheeses are now made with pasteurized milk.
So, what’s the deal with soft cheese, then?
The main issue with soft cheeses is their high moisture content.
Basically, hard cheeses tend to have less water, approximately 30-35%.
Whereas soft cheese has a far greater water content, and some can even contain as much as 80% water.
And unfortunately, the more water content a cheese has, the more hospitable it will be to bacteria, e.g., listeria.
The same can be said for cheese that includes mold as part of the eating process, e.g., Blue Stilton.
Mold is essentially bacteria and, therefore, should be avoided while pregnant.
15 Cheeses That Are Safe to Eat During Pregnancy
3. Does Heat Kill Listeria?
Now, just to totally confuse everything you now know, there is actually a way to eat just about any cheese while pregnant.
I’ve mentioned that pasteurization simply involves treating milk with heat to kill pathogens such as listeria.
Well, you can actually do exactly the same thing with the cheese itself to make it pregnancy safe.
Basically, heating cheese, and I mean really heating it until it’s steaming, will kill listeria.
Therefore, you could say that eating cold cheese or cheese at room temperature can be unsafe for a pregnant woman, depending on the cheese they’re eating.
As an example, Camembert is a soft, creamy cheese with high water content, so should usually be avoided by expectant mothers.
However, the most popular way to eat Camembert is to bake it until it’s really hot.
This is actually more than enough to kill listeria.
The same can be said for cheese as a pizza topping.
So, a spinach and ricotta pizza will place the ricotta (a soft cheese) under extreme heat until it’s steaming.
Once more, the same principle applies to a grilled cheese sandwich.
Now, I will say that if you have any worries, then you should, of course, speak to your doctor.
However, you can rest assured that extreme heat will kill listeria and a wide variety of other pathogens.
So, as you can see, Babybel is OK to eat while pregnant.
The main reason for this is that all Babybel cheeses are made from pasteurized milk.
Expectant mothers are typically told to avoid soft cheeses or cheeses made from raw/unpasteurized milk.
This is because these types of cheeses are more likely to be a breeding ground for listeria and other pathogens.
That being said, extreme heating will actually kill listeria.
Therefore, it is possible to eat just about any cheese as long as you heat it until it is steaming.
I have also addressed the issue of whether you can eat Dairylea triangles if you are pregnant.