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We present fiber Bragg grating based transversal load sensing with a highly birefringent microstructured optical fiber. For the bare fiber, the change of the Bragg peak separation under a transverse line load was simulated with a finite-element model and experimentally verified. We also show that microstructured optical fibers with fiber Bragg gratings can be successfully embedded in a carbon fiber reinforced composite material. The linear dependence of the Bragg peak separation to a transversal stress in the composite sample was measured to be 15.3 pm/MPa.