I love my soft cheeses and I'm not the kind of girl to do what I'm told without knowing why. For the first few weeks of my pregnancy I had to delve into the issue of soft cheeses to find out what we really should avoid when pregnant.
Listeria is a foodborne bacteria which can cause a disease is called listeriosis. If you eat contaminated food the bacteria may penetrate your intestines and travel throughout the blood stream. Listeriosis is a dangerous disease for pregnant women as is may infect the baby and cause misscarriage, stillbirth or blood infections.
But listeriosis is extremely rare, read this if you are interested in details.
What you need to know is that listeria can't survive high heats, so if you re heat left overs make sure they are really hot and generally fresh deep fried foods will be alright too.
Which brings me back to soft cheeses. In Australia all dairy products are pasturised, it is actually illegal to sell anything unpasturised labelled as a food product. Pasturisation involves extremely high heat, which kills listeria. Just make sure you store your soft cheeses in the fridge and buy them in a sealed packet.
There is a minor chance of cross contamination, which means the listeria bacteria contaminates a dairy product after it has been pasturised, but boiling milk or cooking soft cheese (like in canneloni) will fix that up anyway in case you are really worried.
I don't eat fish or meat anyway, which from what I can tell have a higher risk of carrying the bacteria, but I haven't looked into it much.
In the meantime, I'm going to sit back and enjoy my pasturised soft cheeses. I'm probably more likely to get hit by a car than catch listeriosis anyway. It just means I'm likely to get some dirty looks from people who think I'm a bad mum whilst I eat my cottage cheese on crackers.