Know the rules for dealing with mold on food. Should you toss it or eat it? | Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality
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10 Rules for Mold On Food

(Should it stay or should it go now?)Photo shows mold growing on tomatoes

Most of us have had it happen. You open the fridge at work or home and see something fuzzy on a piece of fruit, bread or that plate of spaghetti long forgotten.

When I was growing up the conventional wisdom in my house was to “cut off” the fuzzy stuff before eating it.

Since those days of my youth I’ve learned a few things that have changed my perspective about mold on food that may save you a trip to the hospital or a “mysterious” sick stomach.

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungi that grows on mostly organic matter. There are more than 350,000 types of species, they all produce spores, and can be spread easily by movement of air or water.

3 parts :

  1. Root Threads- These spread throughout your food rapidly and 90% are invisible to the naked eye.,
  2. Stalks- These sections often rise above the food source and are attached to the roots,
  3. Spores- Grow at the end of the stalks often give mold its unique coloration.

What mold is safe to eat?

Some molds are safe to eat and often considered delicacies.   Classic examples of edible molds are: Cheeses like Blue, Camembert and Gorgonzola.

Why is moldy food unsafe to consume?

Many molds can be highly toxic and cause illness or death. Many molds can cause severe to mild reactions skin, ear and eye reactions. Many molds cause respiratory reactions and other severe health issues when inhaled or ingested.

Nuts and Grains:

Have you noted the rash of people (especially children) with “peanut” allergies? Its not so much the nut but the prevalence of mold growths on many types of nuts and grains that may be at least partially to blame. I am among that part of the population effected by molds on nuts. I love nuts and often experience “mild” respiratory and throat irritation after just eating a few nuts at the ballpark. Dang!

The dangerous mold(s) Stachybotrys and Aspergillius are frequently found growing on nuts and in their shells. Both are toxic are frequently found thriving along with bacterias growing in a lot of nuts and grains.

Mold on Food : (Toss It Or Keep It?)

 Basically, any food with high moisture counts or, that is soft (including breads, shredded cheese, etc. Toss It

  • Hard Meats (like Salami or Dry Cured Hams. Keep it but scrub it clean before slicing or eating.
  • Cooked Meat or Poultry Toss It
  • Cooked Grains or Pasta   Toss It
  • Hard Cheese- Keep It but cut off at least 1 inch around the mold avoid contact with the knife.
  • Soft Cheese- Toss It
  • Yogurt or Sour Cream- Toss It
  • Soft Fruits or Vegetables- Toss It
  • Bread – – Toss It
  • Peanut Butter , Nuts- – Toss It

Best Practice:

Listen to your inner voice. If it looks bad don’t smell it and don’t eat it – Toss It

More Resources on mold, mold toxicity and its impact on you.


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