Can I eat burrata in first trimester?

Quick Answers

Burrata cheese is a soft, fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. During pregnancy, there are some risks associated with eating soft cheeses like burrata due to the potential for bacterial contamination. However, burrata made from pasteurized milk is generally considered safe to eat in moderation during pregnancy. Some key points about eating burrata in the first trimester:

  • Burrata made from pasteurized milk is the safest option.
  • Avoid burrata made from raw or unpasteurized milk due to risk of harmful bacteria.
  • It’s best to consume burrata in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
  • Proper storage, handling and cooking can reduce risks.
  • Pregnant women may want to avoid burrata if their immune system is compromised.
  • Discuss any dietary concerns with your doctor.

What is Burrata Cheese?

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese that originated in the Apulia region of southern Italy. It is classified as a pasta filata cheese, meaning the curds are stretched and kneaded to develop a distinctive soft, pliable texture.

The name “burrata” comes from the Italian word “burro” meaning butter. This refers to the rich, butter-like creaminess of this cheese.

Burrata is made from an outer shell of solid mozzarella which encloses a soft inner filling of stracciatella and cream. Stracciatella is a type of soft, stringy mozzarella soaked in cream.

The outer mozzarella shell has a firm, elastic consistency. But when you slice through it, the inner stracciatella and cream ooze out, providing a delicious contrast of textures.

The overall flavor of burrata is mild, delicate and lightly tangy with a rich, buttery note from the cream. It has a soft, spreadable texture when at room temperature.

Authentic burrata is always made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo. But some producers also make it from cow’s milk.

Compared to regular mozzarella, burrata has a much shorter shelf life of only 2-3 days since it contains fresh cream. It is best when eaten shortly after it is made.

Is Burrata Pasteurized?

Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a specific temperature for a period of time to kill harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Many soft cheeses carry a risk of contamination with bacteria like Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli.

Traditionally, burrata is made from raw milk that has not been pasteurized. However, many modern producers now make burrata from pasteurized milk as well. Here is an overview of the pasteurization status of different types of burrata:

  • Fresh burrata – This type of premium burrata is almost always made from raw, unpasteurized milk. The enzymes and bacteria in raw milk contribute to the complex flavor and texture.
  • Pasteurized burrata – Many brands today produce burrata from pasteurized milk. This eliminates the risks of raw milk while attempting to maintain a similar texture and flavor.
  • Pre-packaged burrata – Burrata sold in plastic packaging at the grocery store is made from pasteurized milk. However it often has additives and preservatives.
  • Imported burrata – Burrata imported from Italy is produced from raw milk. If buying an imported brand, check if it’s been aged over 60 days for safety.

For pregnant women, pasteurized burrata is widely considered to be the safest choice with the lowest risk of infection from bacteria and other pathogens. Many doctors advise avoiding raw milk cheeses while pregnant.

Is it Safe to Eat Burrata During Pregnancy?

Eating soft cheeses like burrata during pregnancy can be controversial. The risks depend on several factors:

  • Pasteurization – Burrata made from properly pasteurized milk carries minimal risks if consumed in moderation.
  • Storage method – Proper refrigeration is vital, along with avoiding cross-contamination from other foods.
  • Cooking method – Heating burrata to steaming hot reduces bacterial risks.
  • Ingredients – Additional ingredients mixed into burrata may pose separate risks.
  • Milk source – Cheese made from raw or unpasteurized milk has higher risks.
  • Age and health – Pregnant women over 35 or with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable.

Here are some general guidelines from health organizations on eating burrata while pregnant:

  • The CDC states that pasteurized soft cheeses like mozzarella and burrata are safe for pregnant women.
  • The NHS advises pregnant women to avoid all soft, mold-ripened cheeses, including burrata.
  • The FDA recommends only eating cheeses made from pasteurized milk, not raw milk.
  • The ACOG approves moderate amounts of pasteurized soft cheeses if reheated until steaming.

Overall, most experts consider pasteurized burrata to be safe in pregnancy if handled properly. But those with compromised immunity may still want to avoid it.

Risks of Eating Raw Milk Burrata While Pregnant

Here are some of the main risks associated with eating raw milk burrata during pregnancy:

  • Salmonella – Raw milk may harbor Salmonella bacteria, which can cause fever, diarrhea and dehydration in pregnant women.
  • Listeria – One of the biggest risks in pregnancy is Listeria, which is killed by pasteurization. It may lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects.
  • E. coli – Raw milk can be contaminated with E. coli, resulting in detrimental effects on the mother and baby.
  • Campylobacter – This bacteria in raw milk causes abdominal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Toxoplasmosis – A parasite found in raw milk which causes flu-like symptoms and possible birth defects.

For these reasons, the CDC, FDA and most doctors recommend strictly avoiding raw milk products like fresh burrata when pregnant. The safest alternative is pasteurized burrata.

Is Burrata Considered a Soft Cheese?

Yes, burrata is categorized as a soft cheese due to its high moisture content and flexible, spreadable texture when at room temperature. Other examples of soft cheeses include brie, Camembert, mozzarella, ricotta, feta and goat cheese.

Hard cheeses have a lower moisture content and firmer texture than soft cheeses. Examples include parmesan, cheddar, Swiss and gouda.

The main concern with soft cheeses like burrata during pregnancy is that their high moisture level provides a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Hard cheeses are less hospitable environments for bacteria.

However, the pasteurization process eliminates most of these risks in soft cheeses, along with proper refrigeration. So pasteurized soft cheeses like burrata can be considered safe for pregnant women when handled properly.

Benefits of Eating Burrata During Pregnancy

Here are some of the main benefits that burrata cheese provides during pregnancy when consumed in moderation:

  • Protein – Burrata is an excellent source of protein needed for baby’s growth and development.
  • Calcium – The calcium in burrata helps build baby’s bones and teeth.
  • Phosphorus – This mineral supports bone health and growth.
  • Vitamin B12 – Essential for red blood cell formation and neurological function.
  • Healthy fats – Provides anti-inflammatory fats like conjugated linoleic acid.

As part of a balanced prenatal diet, pasteurized burrata can provide key nutrients for mothers and babies without the risks of raw milk cheeses.

Burrata Nutrition Facts

Here is the nutrition information for a 100g serving of burrata cheese made from whole cow’s milk:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 268
Protein 17g
Carbohydrates 2g
Fat 24g
Saturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 65mg
Calcium 251mg
Phosphorus 190mg
Vitamin B12 1.1mcg

The high amounts of protein, healthy fats, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B12 make burrata an excellent addition to a pregnant woman’s diet. Just be mindful of the saturated fat and cholesterol if consumed in large amounts.

How to Reduce the Risks of Eating Burrata During Pregnancy

Here are some tips to help minimize the risks of consuming burrata cheese during pregnancy:

  • Only eat burrata made from pasteurized milk.
  • Check the product packaging for labels indicating pasteurization.
  • Avoid imported burrata unless it’s been aged over 60 days.
  • When dining out, ask your server to confirm the burrata is pasteurized.
  • Refrigerate burrata promptly after purchasing at 40°F or below.
  • Discard burrata after the use-by date.
  • Cook burrata dishes until the cheese is steaming hot.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by keeping burrata away from other foods.
  • Rinse all utensils and surfaces after contact with raw burrata.

By choosing pasteurized products and handling burrata properly, pregnant women can safely enjoy it in moderation.

How Much Burrata Can You Eat When Pregnant?

During pregnancy, it’s recommended to consume burrata cheese in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Health experts suggest limiting burrata to:

  • 1-2 ounces 2-3 times per week
  • No more than 200mg cholesterol per day
  • Avoid eating raw burrata
  • Pay attention to any digestive issues as a sign you may need to cut back

Always discuss your dietary choices with your doctor, who may modify these recommendations based on your individual health status and risk factors.

Consuming a variety of healthy protein sources like pasteurized dairy, eggs, lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds is ideal in pregnancy rather than overeating any one type of food.

Easy Burrata Recipes for Pregnancy

Here are some delicious, safe ways to enjoy pasteurized burrata cheese during pregnancy:

Burrata Bruschetta

  • Top toasted baguette slices with cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic glaze.
  • Crown with a spoonful of creamy burrata and freshly cracked black pepper.

Burrata Caprese Salad

  • Arrange slices of ripe tomato alternated with fresh mozzarella balls.
  • Nestle burrata in the center and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic and fresh basil.

Burrata Arugula Pizza

  • Spread pizza dough with a layer of crushed tomatoes and burrata cheese.
  • Finish with fresh arugula and a sprinkle of parmesan after baking.

Burrata Pasta

  • Toss hot cooked pasta in a sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs.
  • Top with torn pieces of burrata just before serving.

The possibilities are endless for enjoying delicious burrata in pregnancy when you take the necessary safety precautions.

Can I Eat Burrata When Breastfeeding?

It is generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers to eat pasteurized burrata cheese in moderation. The risks associated with raw milk cheeses are mostly during pregnancy, not breastfeeding.

According to the CDC, small amounts of pasteurized soft cheeses are not known to cause any harm to breastfed infants. As always, it’s best to observe your baby for any signs of fussiness, gassiness or allergic reaction when adding new foods to your diet.

If you have concerns about eating pasteurized soft cheeses while breastfeeding, discuss it with your doctor. They can evaluate your individual circumstances.

The Bottom Line

During pregnancy, burrata made from pasteurized milk is widely considered safe to eat in moderation as part of a balanced diet. To minimize risks, pregnant women should avoid raw or unpasteurized burrata and take care to handle it properly.

The pasteurization process helps eliminate the danger of illnesses from bacteria like Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli. However, women with compromised immune systems should consult their doctor before eating burrata.

When consumed in normal food amounts, pasteurized burrata can provide beneficial nutrients for mothers and babies. It offers protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Just be mindful of eating it in excess.

As with any part of your diet during pregnancy, moderation and safety are key. Always check with your healthcare provider about any dietary concerns specific to your pregnancy.

Leave a Comment