Unlike other cheeses, most people don’t always come across Muenster cheese. But should pregnant women eat Muenster if they do?
In the US, Muenster cheese is safe because, by regulation, Muenster cheese producers in the country are to use pasteurized cow’s milk in making their cheeses. Muenster cheese also doesn’t contain too much moisture, which means it’s less susceptible to bacterial growth.
So, other than being safe, what benefits are in Muenster cheese, what safe brands are available, how much can you have, and what dish can you make with it when you’re pregnant? Read on to learn more!
Is Muenster Cheese Safe to Eat When Pregnant?
In the US, Muenster cheese is only made with pasteurized cow’s milk which makes it safe for pregnant women to have. It is also high in some essential nutrients.
According to the Code of Federal Regulations, the dairy ingredients used to make Muenster cheese are pasteurized (source: Code of Federal Regulations).
Muenster cheese came from the French version, Munster cheese in the Alsace region in France. It all started in the 1800s when the French immigrants in Wisconsin wanted to take a stab at recreating their Munster cheese back home (source: Wisconsin Cheese).
Bear in mind that you should make sure that you’re eating Muenster, and not Munster, especially if you’re abroad. While Muenster cheese is made with pasteurized cow’s milk, Munster cheese is sometimes made with unpasteurized milk.
Munster cheese also has a strong aroma and flavor, while Muenster cheese has a milder one. (source: Wisconsin Cheese). If you’re in France or eating imported cheese, check this, as some versions of Munster may not be safe during pregnancy.
Muenster cheese is a ripened cheese. It is ripened or aged to lose some moisture and for microbes to develop the cheese. Cheeses ripened by these microbes, even if they are semi-soft or semi-hard, are safe if made with pasteurized milk.
Muenster cheese is not ripened for long which is why it is a semi-soft cheese. It is pale yellow in color with a rind colored with vegetable coloring resulting in an orange colored-rind.
Muenster cheese also has a considerable amount of fat and a little acidification. These two qualities make Muenster cheese melt well and have good stretch just like mozzarella (source: Center for Dairy Research).
Is Muenster Cheese Usually Pasteurized?
Muenster cheeses produced in the US are made with pasteurized cow’s milk which makes them safe. Outside of the US, especially in Europe, they are preferred to be made with raw or unpasteurized cow’s milk.
Here are some Muenster cheese brands that are safe during pregnancy:
- 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Sliced Muenster
- Sargento Muenster Cheese Slices
- Happy Belly Muenster Cheese Slices
- Dietz & Watson Pre-Sliced Muenster Cheese
- Land O Lakes® Sliced Muenster Cheese
- Applegate Organic Muenster Cheese Slices
Is Muenster Cheese Good for Pregnancy? The Benefits
Muenster cheese, just like any other cheese, is rich in protein. It is also notably high in calcium, potassium, and vitamin A. The downside is that, because it is favored for its easy-to-melt quality, means it is high in fat.
Protein is vital in the growth and development of the baby. It will also help achieve normal birth weight in newborns (source: Nutrients).
About 250–350 mg of calcium per day is passed from mom to baby, especially in the final trimester (Source: Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute). Apart from forming the bones of the fetus, calcium is also involved in cell signaling and tissue construction (source: Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research).
Potassium can help counter the effect of sodium on increasing blood pressure (source: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health). This is may help prevent pregnancy-induced hypertension.
Like protein, vitamin A also helps support the growth and development of the fetus. Vitamin A also helps the mother to have good metabolism which is especially important during pregnancy (source: Nutrients).
Pregnant women are advised to consume 3 servings of dairy products per day. This includes cheese (Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans).
With all these being said, you’d still want to go easy on Muenster cheese because it is relatively high in fat. So, don’t go overboard on the cheese. 1–2 slices per portion should be enough.
Many say that Muenster cheese won’t go wrong in any dish. Cook with it the next time you make sliders, quiche, mac and cheese, grilled sandwiches, pizza, and more – all of which you can also safely enjoy when pregnant. We hope this article helps!
|This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.|