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Q & A: Mold on Food

On November 6, 2007, a reader requested the following:

Question I need to know about mold on food!

Is it safe to cut off mold from food and continue to eat it?

Mold growth stems from roots that grow deep into the material they choose to thrive on. Out of these roots, grows stalks that usually tower above whatever the mold is growing on and form spores.

Mold is not only growing on the surface of food, but all the way through it, often times permeating toxicity that will make people sick. Even if the visible mold is cut off, many times the roots as well as bacteria and toxic mycotoxins will still be left growing in the food.

Trust me, you don’t want to eat toxic mold roots.

Is Mushroom Poisoning because of Mold?

Mushroom’s are a fungus and many kinds release their own type of poison causing sickness in humans.

Though some of the symptoms are the same, fungus is only a type of mold and not the same thing.

Some Molds are Good to Eat

Not all molds are poisonous and release the mycotoxins that make people sick.

Many of these types of molds are what can be used to make certain types of cheeses, and flavoring in wine.

Softer, richer cheeses, like Brie and Gorgonzola, even have a layer of white mold coating.

Mold Grows in the Refrigerator, How Can This be Minimized?

Molds grow in the refrigerator because they can deal with salty, sugary foods like bacon or jam better than other toxic invaders.

According to the USDA, there are 3 main things you can do to minimize mold growth in the refrigerator:

3 Ways to Minimize Growth in Your Refrigerator

  • Clean the refrigerator every few months with a baking soda/water solvent making sure to scrub any visible mold growth with a bleach/water mixture
  • Keep all sponges, dishtowels, mops, and cloths clean and free of a musty, dirty smell
  • Make sure the level of humidity in your home is below 40% [this is good anyway to prevent mold all throughout your home]


Don’t Buy Moldy Food from the Store

Another good tip is to never buy moldy foods from the store. Make sure you check all of your breads, cheeses, and vegetables as well as any other easily molded foods before you bring them home.

This will prevent the embarrassing event of taking the moldy food back to the store for exchange as well as saving you and your family time and possible sickness!

The USDA also advises 4 ways of handling food already contaminated with mold :

4 Ways to Remove Moldy Foods

  • Never try to smell the moldy foods, this is bad for your respiratory system
  • If you see food is contaminated with mold, put it in a bag and throw it away where the it is out of reach from children and animals.

    Also recommended : Do not throw the contaminated food away in your house trash can; take it outside to the dumpster, preventing unseen spores from contaminating your home.

  • Clean the refrigerator or pantry where the moldy item was kept.
  • Check the nearby items for mold in case of cross contamination

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source : USDA: Mold on Food Facts

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11 thoughts on “Q & A: Mold on Food

  1. Pingback: Q & A: Molds that Grow on Food - The Mold Blog
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  3. Is mold on chocolate candy harmful? I washed off what looked like mold and ate some candy. What ill effects might I expect?

  4. Mitsue,

    If you’ve only eaten the chocolate once, you shouldn’t have any severe affects, besides a slight stomach ache.

    The good news is that the human body’s immune system fights hard against harmful invaders.

    It would be wise to stay away from moldy candy in the future though. If in doubt, its better to be safe than sorry.

    Have a wonderful day! =]

    Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

  5. I would imagine it is not mould on the chocolate. The sugar content of chocolate is too high to allow mold to grow (it decreases the water avaliable to the mold which is essential for their growth).
    It is more likely if the choclate is old or been allowed to warm and cool, that it is just a whitish layer of chocolate that has crystalised.

  6. A half full bottle of honey citron tea was left closed but unrefrigerated (left in room temperature) for a month. Some grayish molds grew on the surface. Then, the surface was scraped to remove the molds. Is it still safe to consume the honey citron tea?

  7. well…i think the easist way to make mold for a project is to have the object in moist damp air and if you need mold right away put the object in either a jar or a platcs bag bu your choice(but i would recomenned platics). alright bye i hope you guys whoo read this use my advice if it worked for me it will definetly work for you.

  8. Reg. Mold on my drink.

    I recently noticed that when I leave my tea on the counter in a sealed jar that is not air tight that after a week a green mold forms on the top. What is this? Is this normal? Should I refrigerate my tea or can I leave it on the counter.? Am I doing something wrong? The jar is 2 quarts and I wash it between uses with hot soapy water. I pour my boiled tea into the jar to cool and last time just left it on the counter and had been drinking from it till I saw the green mass of mold floating on the top!

  9. I make my own salamis every year but because it is winter and as they are drying in my garage I have to constantly clean the mold off them. Is there anything I can do to stop the mold from reoccuring.

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