Pregnant women know the list of what they can do or not do can be exhausting. Raw sushi, a submarine sandwich, and some soft cheeses can contain harmful bacteria that have the potential to breach the placenta and affect a developing fetus, such as listeria. The advice can be confusing. For example, it is not the sushi itself that can be harmful but the raw fish. A cooked meat or vegetarian roll is likely fine as long as prepared on a clean surface. The same can be said for lunch meats — like a toasted Subway sandwich has been heated enough to be safe. Cheese, though, is a bit trickier. Burrata, which is a soft Italian cheese, has gained popularity in recent years, but is burrata cheese safe to eat during pregnancy?
What exactly is burrata?
The exterior of this dumpling-shaped delight is made from fresh mozzarella, while the interior is stuffed with cheese curds and decadent cream. The Italian word burro actually means “butter,” due to the rich nature of this cheese. Top formaggiaios (aka cheese experts) recommend only serving burrata at room temperature. This is one of the reasons burrata might feel like a tricky choice for pregnant women, since heating it up first is not an option.
So can a mom-to-be can plop a pouch of burrata on top of a bed of field greens? The professionals say the answer is “sometimes.”
Is burrata safe to eat while pregnant?
The issue about whether burrata is safe to eat while you’re expecting isn’t really that it’s a soft cheese. It isn’t about the country of origin, either. Whether it’s burrata, brie, or queso asadero, they are quite similar. “If the burrata cheese is made with pasteurized ingredients, it is safe to eat while pregnant,” Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, a board-certified OB-GYN, tells Romper. Through pasteurization, the milk is heated to a specific temperature. This disintegrates potentially dangerous bacteria, such as listeria — which can lead to listeriosis. “While this infection is rare, it is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and the fetus,” she says.
Fortunately, most cheese in the United States must be pasteurized to be sold, says Colleen Wysocki-Woods, a registered dietician and certified lactation consultant. For example, the burrata that you could have Instacarted to your house today from Whole Foods is listed as pasteurized and thus safe. If you are considering purchasing burrata from a smaller cheese shop or farmer’s market, though, Woods urges you to ask specific questions. Can they state with certainty that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk or was “ultra heat-treated?” If not, it’s best to avoid it.
If the cheese is marked correctly and stored correctly (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), there isn’t really any reason to avoid cutting into this creamy treat. Try it with fresh fruit, crusty Italian bread, or on a bed of well-washed greens.
Colleen Wysocki-Woods, MS, RDN, CLC, registered dietician, certified lactation consultant, and founder of ZEST Nutrition