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Cheese; safety

Cheese is one of our safest foods. This was the opinion of the government-commissioned Richmond Report, which looked into food safety in 1990 after widespread salmonella and listeria scares.

Of the tens of thousands of cases of food poisoning reported in this country in the last decade, only about a dozen have been attributed to cheese.

However, The Chief Medical Officer has said that pregnant women should avoid soft ceeses, whether pasteurised or not. This is for fear of contracting listeriosis, an infection which can cause mild flu-like symptoms in most of us but which can be much more serious for immuno-suppressives, the very young, the very old and pregnant women - including causing miscarriages.

The term "soft cheese" doesn"t include the likes of Perroche. It refers to surface-ripened and mould-ripened cheeses such as Camembert/Brie and blue cheeses, those which become softer as they ripen. Vulnerable groups should also avoid paté, cook-chill foods and prepared salads as well. "This article is based on one in The Neal"s Yard Dairy catalogue - one of Britain"s best cheese shops". See "Cheese"; "Cheese; unpasteurised"; See also our Mail Order Section

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