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mold on food

Mold On Food

Mold is everywhere! At Northeast Property Restoration we remediate property mold to keep the occupants safe from health hazards.  But what about mold that grows on food? , What should you do when you find mold growth on food?, and Is it safe to cut off the moldy part and eat the rest? We will dive into this subject to answer these questions and more.

First, What Are Molds?

Molds are a natural part of the environment.  Mold is present anywhere that moisture and oxygen exist. Outdoor molds are necessary for breaking down  matter, however indoor mold growth should not be present.

Molds belong to the fungi kingdom. They are microscopic fungi that live on plant or animal matter. There are many different species of fungi that exist in the world. Most of these fungi’s produce spores. These spores can be transported by air, water, or insects.


Common Types of Mold

There are many different types of mold. The most common types of mold are:

  • Alternaria
  • Aspergillus
  • Cladosporium
  • Penicillium

Mold On Food

Molds have branches and roots. Therefore, if you see mold on the surface of food their roots may extend deep within

Foods that are moldy may also have invisible bacteria growing along with the mold. Therefore, if you consume moldy food it can make you sick. 

However, there are some foods with mold that are safe to eat! Keep reading to find out.

Are Molds Only on the Surface?

Due to the fact that molds develop “roots”, food with surface mold growth is contaminated all throughout.

Commonly found “surface” molds include: gray fur on sandwich meat, fuzzy green dots on bread, white dust on cheese, velvety greenish black circles on fruits, white fuzz on vegetables etc. 

Therefore, if you just remove the growth on the surface you are only removing some of the mold growth. If you consume these mold affected items they may make you sick.

Is there Any Safe Molds?

Yes! Molds are used to make certain cheeses. Some of these molds have visible blue veins including:

  • Roquefort
  • Blue Cheese
  • Gorgonzola
  • Stilton

These cheeses are created by P. roqueforti or Penicillium roqueforti spores.  The molds used to manufacture these cheeses are safe to eat.

Mold Toxins

Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by certain molds found in:

  • Grain and Nut Crops
  • Celery
  • Grape Juice
  • Apples, and Other Produce

 The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 25% of the world’s food crops are affected by mycotoxins, of which the most notorious are aflatoxins. (According to the USDA)

Aflatoxin is a cancer-causing poison produced by certain fungi in or on Foods and Feeds, Field Corn and Peanuts.

They have been associated with various diseases, such as aflatoxicosis in:

  • Livestock
  • Domestic Animals
  • Humans

Many countries try to limit exposure to aflatoxin by regulating and monitoring its presence on commodities intended for use as food and feed. The prevention of aflatoxin is one of the most challenging toxicology issues of present time.

Aflatoxins are considered unavoidable contaminants of food and feed, even where good manufacturing practices have been followed. (According to the USDA)

How Can You Minimize Mold Growth?


Cleaning the appliances and items in your kitchen can help minimize mold growth. 

  • Clean the inside of your refrigerator every few months
  • Keep dish towels, sponges, and mops clean and purchase new if they develop a musty smell. If these item still smell after being laundered throw any them away!
  • Keep your home humidity level below 40% 

Examine Food Before You Purchase

When you go to the grocery store make sure you check the items before you purchase them. This will ensure that you are not buying aged food that has mold or will grow mold fast.

  • Check food in glass jars
  • Look at the area around the stems on fresh produce
  • Don’t purchase any items with bruising
  • Look closely at cured and cooked meats

Keep Mold Off Of Food

To avoid potential mold growth you can do the following:

  • Buy smaller amounts of food and use/consume it quickly
  • Keep food covered, inside & outside of the fridge
  • Don’t leave any perishables out of the refrigerator more than 2 hrs
  • Use leftovers within 3 to 4 days 

Additional Information

Check out the USDA website for more information as well as a chart on how to handle/discard certain moldy foods.

Also check out the EPA website to learn more about mold. Or check out our mold page!

Service Area:

Broome County, Tioga County, Tompkins County, Cortland County, Susquehanna County, Lakawanna County, Chenango County and more!

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