Can you eat mozzarella when pregnant?

In this article we are going to answer can you eat mozzarella when pregnant, what is mozzarella cheese, what is the risk of eating mozzarella from unpasteurized milk when pregnant, what cheese you can and can’t eat when pregnant, and how to eat mozzarella cheese safely and how to add mozzarella to my diet. 

Can you eat mozzarella when pregnant?

Yes, you can eat mozzarella cheese when pregnant. If it is made from pasteurized milk you can eat it fresh but if it is made from unpasteurized milk, you need to fully cook it up to 160F to prevent any food poisoning.

Pregnant women are more at risk for developing symptoms that can cause harm to the mom and the baby. Remember to read food labels or ask your waiter before you eat mozzarella cheese. 

What is mozzarella cheese?

Mozzarella cheese is a southern Italian cheese that is traditionally made with buffalo milk by a very specific method. Mozzarella Cheese is under the Traditional Speciality Guaranteed, a traditional food product protected under the EU and/or UK law, since 1996 in the United States. 

Fresh mozzarella is white but when seasoned it can turn a bit yellow depending on the animal’s diet. It has high moisture content and when fresh it can be kept for up to a week in the fridge.

For longer shelf life, they are usually sold in vacuum-sealed packages. Contrary to high moisture mozzarella, low mozzarella moisture can be kept in the fridge for up to a month. 

It is a very famous cheese because it is used for pizzas and some pasta dishes. Also, it can be served with sliced tomatoes and basil to make Caprese salad. 

Some variants have been specifically formulated for different dishes.

  • Buffalo’s milk: is the original recipe that is made and sold in Italy. It has the status-protected designation of origin. 
  • Cow’s milk: It is made from pasteurized or unpasteurized cow’s milk. Any cheese outside the EU or UK that does not have a label that is made from buffalo’s milk can be made with cow’s milk. It was created to lower costs and use in pizza. 
  • Sheep’s milk: it is called mozzarella pecorella and it is typical in Sardinia, Abruzzo and Lazio.
  • Goat’s milk: Its production is few, it is of recent origin. 

What is the risk if I eat Mozzarella cheese from unpasteurized milk?

The risk of food poisoning with Mozzarella cheese is not that usual but you still need to be careful. Eating soft cheese fresh made with unpasteurized milk is still a risk for pregnant women. 

Pregnant women are too susceptible to food poisoning. They are 20 times more susceptible to having worse side effects. The FDA says that soft cheese, unpasteurized, is 50 to 160 times more prone to be contaminated with bacteria, especially Listeria monocytogenes. 

The main side effects you can experience with a foodborne illness:

  • Blood or brain infections
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting
  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm labor
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever

What cheese can and can’t I eat when pregnant?

According to the NHS, you can eat all hard cheese made with pasteurized or unpasteurized milk because they have low water content which makes it harder for bacteria to grow.

  • Cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Parmesan
  • Provolone
  • Havarti
  • Manchego
  • Edam
  • Emmental

The NHS also recommends that soft cheese as long as it is made from pasteurized milk is safe to eat when pregnant. 

  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Mozzarella
  • Feta
  • Prepared cheese spreads

You should not eat any soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk, mold-ripened or blue-veined. They are strictly out of limits when pregnant. 

  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Goat cheese with the rind
  • Chevre
  • Danish Blue
  • Gorgonzola
  • Roquefort
  • Queso Blanco or queso fresco

How to eat Mozzarella cheese completely safely when pregnant?

The only way you can assure you are safe eating cheese is to completely cook it, bacteria can’t survive above 165 degrees. To fully kill the pathogens mentioned above you need to cook your cheese up to 165 degrees plus a 3-minute stand time for safety. 

According to the USDA, “3-minute stand for safety refers to the time that the product remains at the final temperature after it has been removed from the oven, grill, or stove. 

During the 3 minutes after it has been removed, its temperature remains constant and continues to rise, to kill pathogens’’

How to add Mozzarella to my diet when pregnant?

Mozzarella is a super nutrient cheese that is filled with calcium. Pregnant women need 1,000 mg of calcium per day. 1 ounce of mozzarella cheese can give you 200 mg of calcium. 

Also, it is packed with protein and is the perfect filling snack you need to eat when pregnant. Some ideas on how to eat mozzarella are

  • Paired mozzarella with some crackers or fresh fruit
  • Make a Caprese salad with pasteurized mozzarella with tomatoes and basil leaves 

Other FAQs about Mozzarella that you may be interested in.

Does fresh mozzarella melt in sauce?

Can you eat mozzarella balls when pregnant?

Does fresh Mozzarella melt?


This article answered can you eat mozzarella when pregnant, what is mozzarella cheese, what is the risk of eating mozzarella from unpasteurized milk when pregnant, what cheese you can and can’t eat when pregnant, how to eat mozzarella cheese safely, and how to add mozzarella to my diet.