This is a cheese type usually processed and used as a topping or dip for tortilla chips. Its creamy, smooth texture and mild taste have made it a staple in several South western and Mexican-style dishes.
Pregnant women, regardless of the trimester they find themselves, can safely eat nacho cheese provided that it is made from pasteurized milk and perfectly stored. But there are a couple of stuff to take into account:
The major concern with cheeses during pregnancy is the risk of possible bacteria, which may increase your chances of being infested with foodborne illness.
If the nacho cheese is commercially pre-packaged and heated properly, it might be safer compared to cheeses from a dispenser at a convenience store or movie theatre where there is potential for contamination if not handled or stored properly.
Freshness and Storage
Be sure that it hasn’t been sitting out for a long time at unsafe temperatures, which can promote bacterial growth.
Refrigerate any leftovers promptly and consume or discard them within a recommended timeframe.
While it can be tasty, it contain excess sodium, fat, and calories. If you’re watching your nutritional consumption then you might want to consume it in moderation.
Storage and Handling
Ensure that the nacho cheese, whether store-bought or homemade, has been stored and handled properly. This means it hasn’t been left out for extended periods and is not past its expiration date.
Sometimes nacho cheese might contain other ingredients like peppers, tomatoes, or spices.
While these are generally safe, you should be aware of those ingredients you’re allergic to and do the needful by customizing your recipe to substitute or eliminate them.
Is nacho cheese pasteurized?
Most commercially produced nacho cheese sauces sold in the US, including ones served at places like Taco Bell and Ricos are made from pasteurized milk which means they have undergone a heat process to kill off the harmful bacteria.
This makes them less likely to harbour pathogens like listeria. The pasteurization process is especially important for expectant mothers because they are the ones more susceptible to the bacterial effects.
However, it’s important to read the label or inquire about the cheese’s origin if you’re eating it in a setting where the source isn’t evident, like at a fair or local eatery.
This is because there are cheeses, especially artisanal or homemade varieties that could be made from raw or unpasteurized milk.
Is movie theatre nacho cheese pasteurized?
Yes, the nacho cheese sauce commonly served at movie theaters in the U.S is typically made from pasteurized milk.
Commercial establishments like movie theatres generally use pasteurized products to maintain a longer shelf life and inhibit harmful bacteria. However, to ensure the safety of the product anytime;
- Check the temperature: Even if you know you got a pasteurized cheese, it’s still important to ensure its stored and served at the most appropriate temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria. Nacho cheese sauce should specifically be kept hot, typically above 140°F (60°C).
- Observe hygiene and handling practices: Be cautious if the sauce dispensing area appears unsanitary or if the sauce has been sitting out for a long time period.
- Ask the staff: If you’re ever uncertain, don’t hesitate to ask the theatre staff or seller about the cheese sauce’s pasteurization status and ho it’s handled.
Is it safe to eat melted cheese when pregnant?
Yes, it’s safe to eat melted cheese, just like you’d do for nacho when pregnant. The key factor is to ensure that it is pasteurized.
Those labelled as pasteurized are considered a safe bet, whether melted or on top of a pizza.
Hard cheeses, on the other hand, whether pasteurized or not, are generally safe to eat. And this is because they’re much harder for bacteria to grow on them.
So cheeses that are typically melted, like cheddar or gouda would be safe for preggy moms to eat. However, it’s best to avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk because they can carry bacteria like listeria that can be harmful to you, the mom and the little one.
What kind of cheeses can you eat while pregnant?
When considering eating cheese, it is very important to cautious about the type you go in for because some carry a risk of bacteria that may lead to foodborne illnesses. Here are some types to eat when pregnant:
- Cream cheese
- Cheese slices
What cheeses should be avoided during pregnancy?
These types should be avoided as they carry high risks of bacteria that’s detrimental to your health
- Queso fresco
- Queso Blanco
- Homemade soft cheese
Yes, you can eat processed cheese slices such as those used in sandwiches or burgers. These are typically made from pasteurized milk and are considered safe to consume.
Yes, you can eat Velveeta cheese dip while pregnant, but you should do so in moderation.
Yes, expectant moms can eat mozzarella as it is usually prepared with pasteurized milk. But be sure to always check the expiry date when buying, and don’t forget to store it well.
Yes, you should be able to safely eat nachos but it’s important to check the ingredients and preparation method. Opt for ones made with pasteurized cheese and avoid any toppings that could be risky to your baby bump.
Pregnant moms can safely eat nacho cheese but should make sure it’s made with pasteurized milk which reduces the possibility of them carrying bacteria.
Anytime you are buying cheeses, including nachos, check the product labels and be cautious about the source and storage as well as perhaps additional ingredients.
Just as with any other dietary concern during pregnancy, it’s always best to talk to your doctor if you’re unsure about your cheese type or have any issue about eating them.
References: USA Today (Fact check: Those are salt crystals in nacho cheese Lunchables, not glass shards, FDA says)