Can you get sick from eating moldy bread?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you get sick from eating moldy bread”. Additionally, we will discuss different types of molds that can grow on bread, handling, and ways to prevent mold growth.

Can you get sick from eating moldy bread?

Yes, you can get sick from eating moldy bread. Mold can trigger allergic reactions, especially in people with a weakened immune system, and can cause harmful infections. It also gives the bread an off-flavor. 

As it is impossible to know what type of mold is growing on your bread just by looking at it, so, it is better to assume that the bread is not safe for consumption and to discard it.

Although, many people may not have alarming effects after eating bread that has mold on it. However, some people can develop allergic reactions to it. Moreover, in some rare cases, it can contain mycotoxins, which can potentially cause food poisoning if you ingest too much of them. Therefore, you should never knowingly eat or sniff it.

Common symptoms of eating mold

If you have consumed moldy bread, you can develop symptoms within a few hours. The symptoms you should look for are the common food poisoning symptoms. These include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever and/or chills 
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue 
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Headache 

Additionally, if you have consumed bread that contains even more dangerous kinds of mold, you may suffer from irritation in your mouth and throat.

What is bread mold? 

Mold is a member of the fungi family, which is different from plants and animals in a way that it uses other plants and animals as its food source. The most well-known member of the fungi family is mushrooms.

Although mold can grow on many types of foods, bread molds are common because bread provides a very desirable source of nutrients for mold growth.

Bread mold is usually visible to the human eye. It changes the color and texture of the bread. It appears on bread as a slightly fuzzy, blue, green, or white patch, especially if the bread is left uneaten for more than a few days.

Eating around the mold doesn’t work either.

Different types of bread mold

Different types of molds are known to grow on bread. These include: 

Rhizopus Stolonifer

Rhizopus stolonifer is the most common type of bread mold. It is also known as black bread mold. It may also grow on fruits and vegetables.

Initially, It will appear as a fuzzy green or blue patch on a surface. But, if left alone, these patches will develop a black center. This mold is not dangerous but may cause mild indigestion.

Penicillium

Penicillium will appear as white, blue, or gray patches. If ingested, the side effects tend to be mild. However, a few types of Penicillium are known to produce mycotoxins, which may lead to chronic illnesses with time.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium mostly affects people with allergies. If a person is continually being exposed to Cladosporium, he may report sneezing or wheezing.

Cladosporium shows up on the surface of the bread as a dark patch that can be green or black. What makes it noticeable is that it has a strong odor. Unless you have allergies, you likely won’t be harmed by consuming them.

What to do with a bread having mold on it

If you find moldy bread:

  • Do not smell/inhale it as this can cause respiratory problems
  • Place the bread into a paper or plastic bag and dispose of it in a covered trash can that is away from the reach of children 
  • Clean the area where you were storing the bread
  • As mold spreads quickly, it is better to check nearby items 

Bread handling and storage tips

Generally, common mold spores can not survive baking, but bread can easily pick up spores from the environment after baking, for example, during slicing and packaging. These spores can start to grow under the right conditions, such as in a warm and humid environment.

To prevent mold growth on bread, you can 

  • Keep it dry. As moisture encourages mold growth, so it is advisable to keep the bread dry. If you see visible moisture inside the bread package, use a clean paper towel to dry the package before sealing it. 
  • Cover it. Keep bread covered, such as when serving it, to shield it from spores in the air. However, to avoid soggy bread and mold, don’t package fresh bread until it’s thoroughly cooled.
  • Freeze it. Though refrigeration slows mold growth, it also makes bread dry. Freezing bread stops the growth without altering the texture as much. Separate the slices with wax paper to make it easier to thaw only when you need.

Gluten-free bread is more susceptible to mold growth, as it typically has higher moisture content and restricted use of preservatives. For this reason, it is often sold frozen.

Vacuum-sealing is another type of bread packaging technique. It removes oxygen which is needed for mold growth. Still, this bread is prone to contamination once you open the package.

What happens if you eat expired bread?

Just because your bread is expired does not necessarily mean it is unsafe for consumption. Look for signs such as a hardened texture or a bad flavor. If there is any visible mold growth, discard it immediately. 

Conclusion 

In this article, we have answered the question, “ Can you get sick from eating moldy bread?”, types of bread molds, and storage and handling tips. 

If you’ve enjoyed ”Can you get sick from eating moldy bread?”, take a look at ”Is it safe to eat over-proofed bread?” too.

References 

https://cleanwaterpartners.org/mold/mold-on-bread/

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.