Can you get sick from eating moldy jam? (+8 tips)

In this article, we are going to answer the question, “can you get sick from eating moldy jam”?  

Can you get sick from eating mouldy jam?

Yes, you can get sick from eating moldy jam. Even if you scrape the layer of mold and eat the jam beneath, which seems to appear fine, there is still a high chance of contracting gastrointestinal issues due to infection. The long-term effects of eating moldy jam include damage to kidneys and liver and chances of getting cancer.  

What is moldy jam and how does it look? 

Moldy jam is basically jam that has been infected by various species of fungi which grow in areas that contain moisture. Improper use and storage of jam can lead to the growth of mould on jam. Because these fungi multiply rapidly, their structure can easily be seen by the naked eye.

When jam becomes a host for fungi, they often change color and the mold appears to be fuzzy and dusty in texture. These molds often produce tiny spores which may be green, white, black or grey in color. When jams are infected by molds, they have a high possibility of being infected by mycotoxins. Upon consuming these mycotoxins by mistake, one may have to face adverse effects including food poisoning, immune deficiency and even cancer.

Effects of eating moldy jam?

  1. If the mould is recent or has not been growing for long, ingesting such jam will most likely cause short-term immediate side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
  1. However, if the mould has been growing for a long time, and appears to be black in color, merely scraping the layer of jam isn’t enough to ensure that the jam is safe. 

Being black in color signifies that the mold is mature, has multiplied and most likely the spores have even spread to the layers beneath. Ingesting such jams which contain mycotoxins can compromise the immune system and cause serious cases of food poisoning.

  1. Ingestion of one particular mycotoxin, which is known as aflatoxin can compromise the liver and even induce cancer. 
  1. Some molds are known to cause allergies in some people. Some people have reported that just breathing in the mold has more effect than even eating it. People with mold allergies experience respiratory problems.

Tips to store and eat jams safely:

  1. Although many advocate scraping off the layer of mold, to safely eat the remaining jam, the USDA highly recommends to immediately discard the jar of jam, even if the mold is seen on the surface.
  1. Clean the fridge often, at least once a month to avoid creating potential places for the growth of mold
  1. Make sure to close the lid of the jar tightly to avoid letting in any air or moisture inside.
  1. Although jams can be stored at room temperature, it is best to refrigerate them after the container has been opened.
  1. Jams which are high in sugar have a longer life span. Homemade jams can last upto a year if canned and stored properly. However, jams found in the market have a shorter lifespan. Since jams that are made these days contain less sugar than before, they actually have a shorter life span than earlier. So, make sure to check and remember the expiry date printed on the jar. Do not consume the jam post the date of expiry.
  1. Once the jam is used, immediately put the container back in the fridge; avoid an opened can of jam at room temperature for long periods of time and make it susceptible to microbial contamination.
  1. Regularly examine the jam and the container during use and check for possibilities of contamination.
  1. For homemade jams, make sure that the jars or cans that are going to be used for storage are properly sterilized and dried before putting the jam in. After washing, clean and dry the containers with a clean towel. Then, transfer the jars to a cool oven before putting in the warm jam. Make sure that the ladle used to transfer jam has also been sterilized.

In this article, we have answered “can you get sick from eating moldy jam” as well as provided 8 tips to ensure that you store and consume your jam safely.

References:

  1. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mycotoxins#:~:text=Mycotoxins%20are%20naturally%20occurring%20toxins,under%20warm%20and%20humid%20conditions.
  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47227477#:~:text=Well%2C%20the%20Food%20Standards%20Agency,obviously%20rotten%20or%20containing%20mould.&text=Jam%20with%20a%20thin%20layer,should%20be%20safe%20to%20eat.
  1. https://www.thehealthy.com/nutrition/accidentally-eat-mold/
  1. https://greatist.com/health/what-happens-when-you-eat-mold#side-effects
  1. https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/storing_jams.html#:~:text=A%3A%20Opened%20home%2Dcanned%20jams,and%20how%20it%20is%20used.
  1. https://www.nigella.com/ask/storing-jam-and-marmalad

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.