Is Mozzarella Cheese Pasteurized?

Question: Is mozzarella pasteurized?

Answer: Pasteurization involves heating a liquid to remove bad bacteria. The temperature and length of time the liquid is kept under heat depends on the type of pasteurization performed.  The various pasteurization types include vat, high-temperature short time (HTST), ultra high temperature (UHT), and others.

There are two main types of mozzarella. Fresh mozzarella usually comes in ball form and is found in the specialty cheese section of the grocery store. There is also the bag kind that is commonly found hanging in the dairy section. Both of these types of mozzarella cheese are almost always pasteurized.

While it is uncommon to find unpasteurized mozzarella, it is out there. A place like a farmer’s market or specialty cheese shop is where you might come across it. However, even though most mozzarella sold at grocery stores is pasteurized, it is important to read the label to verify pasteurization, if this is a concern for you. If the label is not clear on pasteurization, confirm with the manufacturer or potentially the grocery store manager that the product they are selling is pasteurized.

Consuming pasteurized products is particularly important to pregnant women because they are susceptible to a bacteria called listeria. According to the CDC, pregnant women are 10 times more likely than others to obtain listeria.  Listeria is found in unpasteurized dairy and can cause serious problems to the mother and unborn child. In severe cases, listeria can cause a miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of a newborn.

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