Ricotta is a versatile kind of cheese that is offered in various dishes and also can additionally be consumed on that is own. The is soft, fluffy, spreadable, and has a mild flavor. A lot of soft cheeses are unsafe because that pregnant ladies to eat. But is ricotta cheese one of them?

Ricotta cheese is for sure to eat during pregnancy, as lengthy as it was made indigenous pasteurized milk, like most commercially easily accessible brands. Homemade and artisanal varieties of ricotta may need to be rechecked. Cooking or baking ricotta likewise make it for sure for usage by pregnant women.

You are watching: Can you eat ricotta when pregnant

Jesmarie Macapagal, RN, MD, DPPS
Table the Contents
What is Ricotta Cheese?
threats of eat Ricotta Cheese if Pregnant
Pasteurized vs Unpasteurized Ricotta Cheese
eat Ricotta during Pregnancy
Tips for Eating Ricotta during Pregnancy
last Thoughts

What is Ricotta Cheese?

Ricotta is a basic term that is provided to determine a selection of Italian whey cheese (Scarano et al., 2019). The is a fresh cheese that is light, spongy and also creamy. “Ricotta” in Italian converts to “recooked” in English.

In comparison to many cheeses that space made indigenous milk curds, ricotta is traditionally make from milk whey through the couple of curds that space left behind. Whey is the fluid section obtained by separation indigenous the curd after ~ coagulation of milk during the manufacture of cheese (Scarano et al., 2019). After ~ the curds space made into any kind of cheese the a cheesemaker wants, the leftover whey is climate repurposed to create ricotta.

Ricotta cheese production is, thus, among the most applicable ways of reusing cheese whey that were leftover indigenous cheesemaking. Ricotta deserve to be developed from lamb milk, goat milk, a mixture the cheese whey and milk (Wu et al., 2020), or water buffalo milk. However, advertisement ricotta is most frequently made from cow’s milk.


The traditional technique of make ricotta entails heating the whey, after including a small amount of entirety milk and also some vinegar, citrus juice or rennet, to do the remaining curds coagulate. The curds eventually become larger and much more solid, climate the pot is emptied into a cheesecloth and strained. The perfect product is a fluffy, white ricotta.

In commercial plants, the whey is filtered, heated to 65 levels Celsius and also sent to storage tanks. The is then moved to huge open kettles, where heavy steam or indirect heating rises the temperature come 80 levels Celsius. This mixture is organized for 15 come 20 minutes together the proteins accumulation and start floating on the whey surface ar (Pala et al., 2016).

The clumped proteins are accumulated and inserted into baskets to drain. The baskets room then placed in cold rooms, with a temperature the 2 to 4 levels Celsius, whereby they are made to drainpipe further and also rapidly cool down within 12 hrs (Pala et al., 2016).

The mean composition the ricotta is 70 come 80 percent moisture, 10 come 25 percent fat and also 8 come 10 percent protein. Ricotta have the right to be wrapped in food file or inserted in modified setting packaging. It can be consumed as it is or included as ingredient in various dishes (Pala et al., 2016).

However, nowadays, specifically in the united States, ricotta is being made from totality milk instead of whey. The same process is completed, through the entirety milk heated to coagulate, climate strained to different the curds and also produce a soft, fresh, spreadable cheese.

Ricotta cheese, being a soft whey cheese that is high in moisture with a pH reduced than 6.0, is additionally highly at risk to microbial spoilage and also has a limited shelf life even when refrigerated (Wu et al., 2020). Since ricotta is not aged in any way, it remains light and moist, and is more perishable than tough cheeses.

Fresh ricotta is usually included in dollops to dishes or stuffed right into pasta. The is frequently used together ingredient in lasagna and other Italian casseroles. It is also a usual stuffing for ravioli, manicotti and also other pasta dishes. It can be provided to to fill cannoli or together a great cake filling. It have the right to be provided in omelets and quiche. In Italy, that is popularly delighted in as spread out on toast v honey, and pairs an especially well v fresh figs.

Risks of eating Ricotta Cheese if Pregnant

The composition and also intrinsic nature of ricotta, coupled v the absence of preservatives in the production, do this product great substrate for the development of spoilage and also pathogenic microorganisms (Pala et al., 2016). Ricotta cheese is wonderful medium for development of Pseudomonas species, yeasts, molds, and Enterobacteriaceae (Ricciardi et al., 2020).

There is increased risk of pollution after the curd aggregation process. During molding, chilling and packaging, the cheese is hosted in environments that are not always supplied with adequate hygienic defense systems favor air filtration (Kousta et al., 2010).

During cold storage of whey cheeses, various microorganisms room able to grow, including coliforms, Staphylococci and also Bacillus cereus (Pintado & Malcata, 2000). Bacillus cereus grows favorably in the temperature selection between 40 and also 10 degrees Celsius (Soni et al., 2016). The cooling phase after heat treatment the ricotta to represent a likely step wherein recontamination can occur (Ricciardi et al., 2020).


Listeriosis is a significant food borne condition caused through Listeria monocytogenes. In pregnant women, listeriosis typically manifests together a nonspecific febrile illness. However, it can an outcome in fetal loss, premature labor, and also neonatal sepsis and meningitis (Heiman et al., 2016).

In the United states alone, an estimated 1600 invasive instances of listeriosis occur annually (Scallan et al., 2011). Majority of these invasive infections take place in specific population groups, including pregnant women and also newborn babies, who typically present with bacteremia or meningitis. Fatality ensues in about 21 percent of cases (Silk et al., 2013).

In 2012, a multistate outbreak of listeriosis happened in the unified States. Twenty two situations were reported, including four deaths and one fetal loss. Packages the imported ricotta salata were discovered to yield the outbreak strain. Various other cheeses were additionally found to be cross-contaminated (Heiman et al., 2016).

Pasteurized vs Unpasteurized Ricotta Cheese

The public health benefits that the procedure of milk pasteurization space well established. Pasteurization ensures security for human intake of milk (Macdonald et al., 2011). Majority of the brand of ricotta cheese that are obtainable in supermarkets are made utilizing pasteurized milk, and also are safe for pregnant females to consume.

The definition of pasteurization is “the process of heater every fragment of milk or milk product, in appropriately designed and also operated equipment, to any type of 1 the the stated pasteurization time / temperature combinations” for the purpose of destroying all human pathogens. The most usual pasteurization an approach is swiftly heating milk to at the very least 72 degrees Celsius and also maintaining that temperature for a minimum the 15 secs (Lucey, 2015).

Raw milk becomes contaminated through pathogenic biology through different mechanisms, including direct passage native the blood right into the milk of one animal, mastitis, fecal contamination, or pollution from human skin (Lucey, 2015).

Unpasteurized milk can come to be contaminated through Listeria monocytogenes even before the process of cheesemaking. Cows, sheep and also goats can shed the bacterium with their milk. Fecal contamination can additionally occur during milking (Heiman et al., 2016).

Arcobacter butzleri has been secluded in artisanal prepared to eat (RTE) water buffalo ricotta cheese. Arcobacter species have to be reported in different steps of the dairy products chain indigenous fecal samples of dairy products animals, milk filters and also raw milk (Scarano et al., 2014). Arcobacter butzleri has been connected with several instances of cradle disease, and also persistent diarrhea is the main symptom in humans (Collado & Figueras, 2011).

Eating Ricotta throughout Pregnancy

According to the UK nationwide Health company (NHS), the following types of cheese room safe to eat throughout pregnancy:

All hard cheeses choose cheddar, Stilton and parmesanUnpasteurized and all various other cheeses that were extensively cooked until steaming hotPasteurized milk, yogurt, cream and also ice cream

In contrast, these cheeses are recommended through the NHS to be avoided throughout pregnancy:

Mold-ripened soft cheeses favor brie, camembert and also chèvre that were not cookedAny unpasteurized cheese or milk

However, according to the NSW Food government from Australia, soft and semi-soft cheeses should not be consumed during pregnancy, uneven they were completely cooked to a minimum temperature the 75 degrees Celsius. These encompass brie, camembert, feta, blue cheese, and ricotta.

To do unpasteurized ricotta for sure to eat, pregnant females can cook them to a temperature the 165 degrees Fahrenheit (or 74 degrees Celsius) or warm them till steaming hot. Usage a food thermometer come accurately measure up the interior temperature.

Tips for Eating Ricotta throughout Pregnancy

When homemade indigenous pasteurized milk, eat fresh ricotta instantly after make it.When bought indigenous a grocery store, choose ricotta that is not close to the expiration date and also eat it immediately after openingWrap securely and store unfinished ricotta in the refrigeratorIf ricotta looks or smells off and you are in doubt around its safety, perform not eat it and throw the outCook or bake ricotta until a temperature that 165 levels Fahrenheit has actually been got to to kill any potential virus like Listeria.

Ricotta is very perishable. Therefore, it must be retained in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container. When opened, it have to be consumed within 5 come 7 days. Ricotta can likewise be for sure frozen for up to 6 months, but must be gradually defrosted in the refrigerator prior to consumption.

Final Thoughts

Ricotta cheese can be stuffed right into ravioli, reduce on peak of a pizza, or blended in desserts. Once made native pasteurized milk, ricotta have the right to be a safe addition to her diet throughout pregnancy. However, protect against the artisanal or homemade arrays that may have used raw milk.

To do it extra for sure to eat, ricotta deserve to be cooked come a safe temperature. This must not be a problem since most ricotta appears in cook dishes anyway.

See more: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Wheel Bolt Pattern, Jeep Wrangler 2012

For the finest advice about cheese usage during pregnancy, consult your obstetrician or dietitian. Castle can provide you an individualized strategy to all your pregnancy diet needs.

Collado, L., & Figueras, M. J. (2011). Taxonomy, epidemiology, and clinical relevance of the genus Arcobacter. Clinical Microbiology reviews 24(1), 174-192. Doi: 10.1128/CMR.00034-10Macdonald, L., Brett, J., Kelton, D., Majowicz, S., Snedeker, K., & Sargeant, J. (2011). A systematic review and also meta-analysis the the impacts of pasteurization on milk vitamins, and evidence for raw milk consumption and also other health-related outcomes. Journal of Food protection 74(11), 1814-1832. Doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-10-269Pintado, M. E., & Malcata, F. X. (2000). Characterization of whey cheese packaged under vacuum. Journal the Food defense 63(2), 216-221. Doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-63.2.216Scallan, E., Hoekstra, R., Angulo, F., Tauxe, R., Widdowson, M. A., Roy, S., …, & Griffin, P. (2011). Foodborne disease acquired in the joined States: major pathogens. Emerging contagious Diseases 17(1), 7-15. Doi: 10.3201/eid1701.p11101Silk, B., Mahon, B., Griffin, P., Gould, L. H., Tauxe, R., Crim, S., …, & Henao, O. (2013). Vital signs: Listeria illnesses, deaths, and also outbreaks: united States, 2009-2011. MMWR: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 62(22), 448-452. Https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604984/