You might not have thought it would be the case, but it’s okay to eat food that has been covered with fuzzy mold. However, this is only the case in certain situations.
Food is getting more and more expensive these days, and it’s never good when food is wasted. Naturally, if you see just a little bit of mold growing on your bread or perhaps on the cheese, then you want to be able to salvage the product by scraping it off. However, there are many times when eating food that has mold on it is not recommended and can have negative consequences.
For one thing, visible mold has ‘threads’ or what are known as tentacles, which can reach deep inside the food that you want to eat, and this contaminates even the section of the food that doesn’t have any mold, or so it seems.
There are many associated risks when it comes to exposing yourself to mold in this way. Mycotoxins can be produced by the mold, and these are highly toxic substances. What can the mycotoxins do to your body? They can make you ill, causing you to have an allergic reaction and even breathing issues. There is even one of these toxins, aflatoxin, that is known to cause cancer.
It is quite easy to spot mold on food. You can see the green or bluish color, and if left alone for quite a long time, it gets fuzzy or hairy. When the food in question is inside a jar, such as salsa, then the best place to look to check for mold is on the edges of the jar and under the lid.
Sniffing a food is never a good way to check for mold, as you can easily take in mold spores when doing this. If you’re thinking there might be mold but can’t find any, then just use your head. For instance, if the food looks different that it is normally supposed to look, then just throw it away.
There are some exceptions to the rule when it comes to cheeses, such as Swiss and cheddar. The reason these are exceptions is because they come from a hard block of cheese, and mold doesn’t penetrate the cheese deeply, meaning it can be removed and the product salvaged. However, you don’t just simply scrape it off, as this can mean that you’re going to contaminate the room with the mold. How you remove this mold is by cutting it out, leaving an inch between the cut and where the mold begins. Of course you’re going to be cutting off some cheese that is still good, but you don’t want to disturb the mold.
You can also remove mold from hams that have been cured as well as dried hard salami. When you spot mold on these two meats, just cut it out like you would with the cheese. Remember never to scrape away the mold.
It’s also necessary to put the moldy food in a trash can instead of in a sink because the mold spores can easily end up on other food and dishes if put in the sink. And, the knife that you used to cut away the mold from the food needs to be washed before using it again.
To keep the mold risk inside your refrigerator low, one thing you can do is to consistently clean the surfaces on the inside. Those little spills and food fragments can sit for a long time if not cleaned up, and that is when mold can begin to grow and spread. Naturally, all food inside the refrigerator should also always be covered.
Another good rule of thumb when it comes to keeping your refrigerator clean is to only allow leftovers to remain for two days. Sure, that is quite the conservative number, but it helps save your other food in the fridge and eliminates the risk of mold on the leftovers as well. When it comes to mold and its negative consequences, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Any other situation involving moldy food should be evaluated using common sense as mentioned earlier. If you think it might be bad, keep yourself safe by throwing it away.