Asiago and Pregnancy: Can You Eat?

Asiago is a type of cheese that originates from Italy. It is a semi-hard cheese that has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor.

Asiago is made from cow’s milk, and it can be either pasteurized or unpasteurized.

In this blog post, we will be discussing whether or not pregnant women can eat asiago cheese.

Safe to eat?

In the United States, cheese and cheese products must use pasteurized milk in order to be sold. For aged cheese however, such as asiago, the rule is a little different. The cheese can be made from unpasteurized milk, as long as it has been aged for at least 60 days.

So, yes, pregnant women can eat asiago cheese that has been aged for at least 60 days. However, they should avoid eating any asiago cheese that has not been aged properly or long enough, as this cheese can contain harmful bacteria.

For example, the Asiago Pressato cheese is a type of younger asiago that is typically aged for only 20-40 days and didn’t go through the milk pasteurization process. This cheese is not ideal for pregnant women to eat.

The other variety of asiago cheese, which is called Asiago d’Allevo, is a safer option for pregnant women. It is also made from unpasteurized milk but aged for at least 4 months.

That being said, it is always best to check the label of any cheese product before eating it, just to be sure.

First, check the ingredients to make sure it’s pasteurized milk. And secondly, look out for the aged duration.

The risk

Is it all safe for pregnant women? Not really. There are still some risks associated with eating any unpasteurized cheese, aged or not. Unpasteurized aged cheese can still contain harmful bacteria such as listeria, salmonella, and E. coli, as stated in an FDA summary report even though the contamination rates are generally less than 1%.

These bacteria can cause food poisoning, which can be very dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Pasteurization is a heat treatment that is used to destroy harmful organisms in food. In the United States, all cheeses must be either pasteurized or made from raw milk that has been aged for at least 60 days.

Local or imported?

There are a few different brands of asiago cheese that are safe for pregnant women to eat. Some good options include Sargento medium asiago, Stella aged asiago, and Galbani asiago thick slice. They are using pasteurized milk, according to the USDA FoodData Central.

However, most of the imported brands of PDO Asiago cheese are made from unpasteurized milk, which according to the PDO’s rules they have to. Some non-PDO Italian Asiago uses pasteurized milk too.

So, the safest bet for pregnant women is to stick with domestic brands.

The takeaway

In conclusion, pregnant women can eat asiago cheese. However, I would recommend pregnant women, children, the elderly, or people with weakened immune systems should only eat asiago cheese that has been aged for at least 60 days and is made from pasteurized milk.

If you have any questions about asiago cheese and pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to contact your local health department. They will be able to provide more information and guidance.

Reference:

  1. https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/inspection-guides/dairy-product-manufacturers-495