When it comes to cheese, Parmesan is a popular choice for many people. Its rich, nutty flavor and versatility make it a great addition to many dishes.

However, one question that often arises is whether all Parmesan cheese is pasteurized. Let’s dive into the details and find out.

What is Pasteurization?
Pasteurization is a process of heating food to kill harmful bacteria while preserving its quality and flavor. This process was first developed by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century, and since then, it has been widely used in the food industry to make products safer for consumption.

Is All Parmesan Cheese Pasteurized?
The answer is yes and no. Traditional Parmesan cheese made in Italy is not required to be pasteurized under European Union law. This means that some Parmesan cheeses may be made from raw milk that has not gone through the pasteurization process.

However, in the United States, all Parmesan cheese sold must be made from pasteurized milk. This is due to regulations put in place by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to ensure food safety.

The Risks of Raw Milk Cheese

While some people believe that raw milk cheeses have a superior taste compared to their pasteurized counterparts, there are potential risks associated with consuming them. Raw milk can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E.coli, and Listeria, which have been linked to serious illnesses like food poisoning.

Pregnant women, young children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to these illnesses and should avoid consuming raw milk or raw milk cheeses.

The Benefits of Pasteurization

Pasteurizing milk helps eliminate harmful bacteria without changing the nutritional value or taste of the product significantly. It also extends its shelf life by killing off spoilage-causing bacteria.

In the case of Parmesan cheese, pasteurization can help ensure that it is safe to eat and reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses.


In summary, traditional Parmesan cheese made in Italy may not be pasteurized, but all Parmesan cheese sold in the United States is required to be made from pasteurized milk under FDA regulations. While some people may prefer the taste of raw milk cheeses, consuming them carries potential health risks. Pasteurization helps ensure that cheese is safe to eat without significantly altering its taste or nutritional value.