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food warning paradox

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food warning paradox

rachel hope | Mar 11, 2001 09:20 PM

I've come searching for sensible advice. In my effort to find balance between a safe pregnancy and puritanical food restrictions I have become lost in a thicket of contradictory information about avoiding listeriosis, a food-borne disease.

Most pregnancy info recommends avoiding "soft or blue-veined cheeses" which might carry this bacteria which can cause premature labor/stillbirth. However, all medical info also claims that pasteurization kills the bacteria. Must I deny myself all soft cheeses (with a few exceptions, what I've been doing), or can I eat pastuerized soft cheese? For example there's this wonderful pasteurized cambazola in the fridge... The experts say cream cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt is fine: is this because most Americans buy this products from big-brands that always pasteurize? How about ricotta from Polly-O? Also, I thought American law mandated that any raw-milk cheese must be aged at least 60 days or thereabouts. Isn't our brie differebnt from the "good stuff" in France for this reason? Can the aging process make a difference? Why else is hard cheese okay? And how about fresh mozzarella (had some a couple of weeks ago at Tra Vigne in Napa, mmmm....)?

I would really appreciate any and all knowledgeable efforts to sort through these questions.

Rachel Hope (due July 19, 2001!)

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