Can you eat food with mold on it

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “can you eat food with mold on it?” We will also discuss what factors ease the apparition of mold on food, and what may happen if you consume it.

Can you eat food with mold on it?

No, you cannot eat food with mold on it. Eating mold found in spoiled food can bring serious effects to your health, these effects may be different depending on the type of mold it is. Sometimes their effects may not be serious, but it is hard to know which ones are safe to eat, so you better avoid consuming ripe food with mold on it.

Although some foods are meant to be processed with mold, like blue cheese, whenever you find mold on spoiled food, you better stay away from it!

What are molds?

According to the North Central District Health Department, molds are microscopic fungi that can live on vegetal or animal matter. They are everywhere, literally! Their role in the environment is really important as they can digest organic matter.

They do not belong to the animal or plant kingdom but they are part of the diverse fungi kingdom. Molds can live outdoors or indoors.

Molds reproduce by the production of spores, this kind of reproduction can be compared to seed plants, but spores play the seed role.

How many types of mold are there?

The Fungi Kingdom is huge, and so are the molds. There have been reported nearly 100, 000 different types of mold that exhibit different properties among them. Molds can come in different colors, some may be dark, and some others may exhibit lighter colors. 

Some mold can produce mycotoxins, these are the most toxic fungi and should be avoided at all costs.

What are mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are substances that are naturally produced by certain molds, including the ones that grow on food. These substances can cause serious health effects and are a potential health threat.

There are many types of mycotoxins as well, but the most concerning ones are:

Why does mold grow on food?

As discussed above, molds use spores to grow, these microscopic spores are floating around in the air, yes even right now! So whenever they land on a piece of food, molds will immediately start digesting whatever they are growing on.

Mold not only grows in food but also can be present in buildings and furnishings, whenever you spot an abandoned house it is common to see mold growing in the walls!

What happens if you have consumed food with mold on it?

Sometimes you may accidentally consume food with mold, so what happens next? Well, first of all, you do not have to panic about it, but you do need to be conscious that you have consumed mold so if any symptoms occur you know why.

Most of the times, you will be okay after eating food with mold, however, some mold can cause allergic reactions that exhibit symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath

So, whenever you start experiencing these symptoms after having consumed food with molds, you immediately need to look for medical attention. As said before, some kinds of mold may not be dangerous to consume, but as there are so many types of these fungi it is impossible to know exactly what symptoms you will experience.

What are the appropriate conditions for mold to grow?

Mold requires certain conditions to grow, some of these are:

  • Temperatures between 77º F and 86º F
  • Humidity in the environment
  • Presence of water
  • Oxygen
  • Organic matter

As you can see, mold needs very little to grow, and that is why you should be extremely cautious when storing your foods. Also, mold apparition on furniture and buildings can be avoided if they keep as dry as possible.

If you cut the mold off food, is it safe to eat it?

It is commonly believed that cutting off mold may be the best solution and you will be able to enjoy that food, but it is not that simple! 

As mold needs humidity to grow, the more humid the food is, it is most likely that not only mold has grown but bacteria! 

So, even though you have cut the mold, some substances and bacteria can still be present in that food. 

If you would like further guidance on this subject, please click here.

What is our recommendation?

Whenever you spot a piece of food that has developed any mold, you better throw it away, as it can only cause unwanted effects on your health. By any means it is advisable to consume food with mold, so please do not do it!

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “can you eat food with mold on it?” We have also discussed other queries related to the subject at hand, like the effects that can cause on human health. 

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Citations

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/molds-food-are-they-dangerous

http://www.ncdhd.org/what-are-molds

https://allergystore.com/blogs/news/how-many-types-of-mold-and-fungi-are-there

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mycotoxins

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.