Pregnant and blue cheese

Blue cheese is a blue cheese that is popular because of the spicy character of the cheese. For pregnant women it is not always clear whether it is safe to eat, due to possible Listeria contamination. There are blue cheeses that are made from raw milk, so it is wise to always check the packaging before eating the cheese. In some cases, the cheese can still be eaten. This is, for example, the case when it comes to a hard blue cheese. Listeria has also never been found in the soft blue Roquefort, which is made from raw sheep’s milk.

Blue cheese and fungi

There are several types of blue mold cheeses, which owe their blue color to the growth of blue mold. The fungi used are Penicillium roqueforti and Penicillium glaucum. Penicillium roqueforti has a strong taste and is used for Roquefort, among other things. Penicillium glaucum has a milder taste and is used in, for example, Gorgonzola, Bleu de Termignon and Rochebaron. The mold grows in veins through the cheese, which is why blue cheese is also called blue-veined cheese. In addition to a blue color, the blue mold also gives a certain smell and often sharp taste that is typical of blue cheese. The structure of the cheese becomes firmer due to the growth of the mold. Finally, the mold preserves the cheese.


There are many blue cheeses. Some of these have a protected designation of origin and may only be made in a certain place in a certain country. Blue cheeses can vary enormously in taste due to differences in preparation methods and the use of different types of milk. There are blue cheeses made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. Some blue cheeses always use raw milk, because this gives a certain taste to the cheese. This is, for example, the case with Roquefort. Other blue cheeses are made from both pasteurized and raw milk. In the table below you will find various blue cheeses with a description, their origin and the type of milk from which they are made. It also states whether the cheese is safe to eat during pregnancy, or whether the packaging should be checked to ensure that the cheese is made from raw or pasteurized milk.Type of milk, origin, description and safety for pregnant women of various blue cheeses

Blue cheese Milk type Origin Description Safe for pregnant women
Blu ’61 Pasteurized cow’s milk Italy Blue cheese with dessert wine and cranberries Safe
Blue Brie Cow’s milk Denmark White mold brie with blue veins Check packaging
Bleu d’Auvergne Cow’s milk Auvergne, France Sticky, spicy blue-veined cheese wrapped in aluminum foil Check packaging
Bleu des Basques Unskimmed sheep’s milk France Firm and creamy blue cheese Check packaging
Blue Stilton Pasteurized cow’s milk Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, England Firm cylindrical blue-veined cheese Safe
Bresse Blue Pasteurized cow’s milk France Soft blue-veined cheese with white mold rind Safe
Cambozola Pasteurized cow’s milk Germany Soft creamy cheese with fine blue veins and white mold rind Safe
Castello blue Pasteurized cow’s milk Denmark Variant on Danisch Blue Safe
Castello Magor Pasteurized cow’s milk Italy Layers of gorgonzola and mascarpone in aluminum foil. The cheese is also known as Gormas Safe
Claxstone Blue Pasteurized cow’s milk England Soft, creamy variation on blue stilton Safe
Danish Blue Pasteurized cow’s milk Denmark White, creamy blue-veined cheese Safe
Dor Blu Pasteurized cow’s milk Germany Soft, spicy blue-veined cheese in aluminum foil Safe
Fourme d’Ambert Cow’s milk Auvergne, France Soft blue-veined cheese with gray rind Check packaging
Gorgonzola Cow’s milk Italy Creamy blue cheese Check packaging
Gormas Pasteurized cow’s milk Italy Layers of Gorgonzola and Mascarpone wrapped in aluminum foil Safe
Huntsman Pasteurized cow’s milk England Firm Cheddar with layers of blue stilton Safe
Crust cass Pasteurized cow’s milk England Strong orange cheese with very fine blue vein mold Safe
Montagnolo Pasteurized cow’s milk Germany Soft, creamy blue-veined cheese Safe
Pas De Bleu Raw organic cow’s milk Belgium Firm, blue-veined cheese with inedible brown rind Not safe
Persillé de Rambouillet Organic raw goat’s milk France Hard cheese with light blue veins Safe
Rochebaron Pasteurized cow’s milk France Creamy blue-veined cheese with ash crust Safe
Roquefort Raw sheep’s milk Roquefort, France Soft, spicy blue-veined cheese wrapped in aluminum foil Safe
Saint Agur Pasteurized cow’s milk France Creamy and spicy octagonal blue cheese in aluminum foil Safe
Val-Dieu Bleu des Moines Pasteurized cow’s milk Belgium Small soft blue-veined cheese with white mold rind Safe



Cow, goat or sheep’s milk is used for blue cheese. Depending on the cheese, it may or may not be pasteurized first. For example, raw milk is used for Roquefort, Pas De Blue and Persillé de Rambouillet, while Blue Stilton always uses pasteurized milk. With some cheeses extra cream is also added, as is the case with Danish Blue, for example. That makes the cheese extra creamy and soft. The milk is curdled by adding rennet and storing the milk at a certain temperature. The Penicillium fungus is usually also added during this process. This fungus will only start working once sufficient oxygen is available. After curdling, a curd is created that can be pressed into the right shape. With a soft cheese, more moisture will remain in the curd than with a hard cheese. After sufficient moisture has been removed from the cheese, the cheese is salted. This prevents bacterial growth and gives the cheese a saltier taste. Blue cheeses are often pierced with needles. This ensures that oxygen can reach the mold, causing blue veins of blue mold to form. Depending on the variety, this can be done at the beginning or at the end of ripening. Some cheeses form a natural rind during ripening, while other blue cheeses are wrapped in aluminum foil. If the cheese is approved after the ripening period, it can be packaged and sold.


Blue cheese contains a lot of saturated fat and a lot of salt. This can have negative health effects. But on the other hand, blue cheese contains a number of important vitamins and minerals that are needed during pregnancy.Vitamin and minerals Blue cheese contains a lot of calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. The combination of vitamin D and calcium is beneficial because they have a positive interaction. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the blood. Calcium is needed during pregnancy to build the baby’s skeleton and teeth. A 30 gram portion of blue Roquefort contains approximately one third of the recommended daily allowance of calcium for pregnant women. Vitamin B12 is important for the production of red blood cells and contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous system. Pregnant women therefore have an increased need for vitamin B12.


Blue cheese contains a lot of saturated milk fats. Eating too many saturated fats can increase bad LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Too high LDL cholesterol levels can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is recommended not to consume more than 10 energy percent saturated fats. Roquefort contains more than 50 energy percent saturated fat and should therefore not be eaten in large quantities.


Blue cheese usually contains a lot of salt. For example, a portion of 30 grams of Roquefort already contains about 20 percent of the maximum recommended amount of salt. Eating too much salt can eventually lead to increased blood pressure. Increased blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to reduced blood flow to the baby. This can cause growth delays.


During the ripening of blue cheese, anti-inflammatory substances are formed that inhibit the production of cholesterol and reduce the growth of bacteria. In addition, a protein has been found in blue cheese that can have a blood pressure-lowering effect. Both the cholesterol-lowering effect and the blood pressure-lowering effect of blue cheese can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is in direct contrast to the cholesterol-raising effect of saturated fat and the blood pressure-raising effect of salt. The scientists at the biotech company Lycotec in Cambridge, who discovered these effects in 2012, call it the French paradox puzzle.

Harmful metabolites

The blue mold Penicillium roqueforti also produces harmful substances in some circumstances, such as certain alkaloids, the poisonous aristolochene and the neurotoxic Roquefortine C. However, harmful amounts of these substances are never found in blue cheese, so eating blue cheese does not entail any additional risks. .

Bacteria in blue cheese

Because blue mold predominates in blue cheese, the growth of other bacteria and fungi is inhibited. To compete well, the fungi produce bactericidal substances. However, bacteria can grow in blue cheese. For example, in 2016 a Scottish child died because blue cheese was contaminated with E. Coli. Blue cheeses made from unpasteurized milk can sometimes contain high levels of Listeria.


Infection with Listeria Monocytogenes during pregnancy is extra dangerous because the bacterium can cross the placenta and infect the unborn child. The consequences of a Listeria infection during pregnancy can range from congenital defects to miscarriage. The bacteria can grow in soft cheeses in the refrigerator. This makes soft blue cheeses a good breeding ground for Listeria. The bacteria cannot grow in hard blue cheeses because there is too little moisture. If the milk used in the preparation of the blue cheese has been pasteurized in advance, Listeria is killed, so that the soft blue cheese no longer poses a risk.

Blue cheese during pregnancy

Blue cheese is safe to eat during pregnancy as long as it is made from pasteurized milk. Soft blue cheeses made from raw milk may contain Listeria and are therefore risky to eat while pregnant. Blue cheeses that are always made from raw milk are Roquefort, Persillé de Rambouillet and Pas De Blue. However, Listeria has never been found in Roquefort, which means that this cheese can be eaten by pregnant women. Persillé de Rambouillet can also be eaten, because this is a hard type of cheese that cannot grow Listeria. There are also many blue cheeses that are always made from pasteurized milk and are therefore safe to eat during pregnancy. Finally, there are blue cheeses that are made from both raw milk and pasteurized milk. That is why it is wise to always check the packaging before eating the cheese. If the packaging says au lait cru or made from raw milk, the cheese should not be eaten, unless it is a hard blue cheese.

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  • Pregnant and Listeria

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