Can you get sick from eating mould?

In this short article, we will answer the question “Can you get sick from eating mould?”, with an in-depth analysis of mould and its types, symptoms of allergic reactions, the difference between good and bad mould and the ways to protect food from spoiling by the mould.

Can you get sick from eating mould?

Yes, you can get sick from eating mould depending on the type of mould you are inhaling or ingesting. The food spoiled by mould is not harmful all the time but have a bad taste only. 

Mould is a type of fungi that is present in the environment. Fungi are naturally present in the environment and play an important role in maintaining the environment and ecosystem. They mostly grow in moist places which are not properly ventilated.

Moulds, if consumed accidentally by a person or even they consume it consciously it does not have major side effects even though it gives the food a bad taste and changes the texture of the food. But in most cases, it is not harmful except when a person consumes poisonous species of mould.

Classification of moulds

Moulds are the fungus that grows in damp places. They can be either good or bad. Like humans, moulds also like fruits, vegetables, bread and cheese. Including food items, these moulds can also grow in other places like floors or any damp place in the house or anywhere on earth.

Harmful moulds have been classified into three different classes which are as follows:

  • Allergenic mould
  • Pathogenic mould
  • Toxigenic mould

Allergenic mould:

Allergenic moulds are those moulds that can produce allergic reactions and cause allergies to people consuming them. A major side effect due to allergenic mould is the asthma attack which badly affects the respiratory system of the person.

Pathogenic mould:

Pathogenic moulds are those moulds that have a pathogenic effect and they affect the health of those people who are already suffering from any type of acute illness.

Toxigenic mould:

Toxigenic moulds belong to the class of moulds that can produce toxic compounds. These toxic compounds can result in dangerous and deadly health conditions for the person. Due to this ability, they are also sometimes known as toxic mould.

Types of mould:

There are twelve different types of moulds which can be found in places near you like food or anywhere in the house. Some of the important types of moulds are mentioned below:

  • Acremonium mould
  • Alternaria mould
  • Aspergillus species
  • Aureobasidium moulds
  • Chaetomium moulds
  • Cladosporium mould
  • Fusarium species
  • Mucor species
  • Penicillin 
  • Stachybotrys
  • Trichoderma
  • Ulocladium

Acremonium mould:

The acremonium is a kind of toxigenic mould whose shapes vary from time to time. This kind of mould when exist someplace appears as a small moist mould which over time changes into powder form. The appearance of this mould varies in different colours for instance, pink, grey, orange or white colour. 

It grows at different paces in homes and various other places like drainage systems, humidifiers and other window sealants. When exposed to this mould it has toxic effects and it can cause diseases of bone marrow, immune system and other organs of the body. 

Alternaria mould:

Alternaria is a type of mould which is classified into allergenic moulds which grow at moist places like showers, bathtubs, and sometimes it appears beneath sinks that are leak. 

This type of mould has a velvety texture which has dark green or brown hair. As this mould belongs to the class of allergenic mould, so it can cause allergy and asthma-like symptoms of the respiratory tract.

Aspergillus mould:

This is a flask-shaped mould that can form thick layers. This mould forms spores and long chains of mould on a surface where it is being grown.

Aspergillus is an allergenic mould that also has some toxic species. It can cause asthma, lungs infection and other respiratory tract infections.

There are some species of aspergillus that produce aflatoxins which are carcinogenic and can cause cancer.

Penicillin:

Penicillin is a kind of allergenic mould that is blue or green in appearance and has a velvety texture. This type of mould is can be found in places that are being damaged by water and in carpets, wallpapers and mattresses. 

It can spread quickly from one place to another and can cause pulmonary inflammation. Long time exposure to this mould can also cause chronic sinusitis.

Trichoderma:

Trichoderma is a type of mould which has a wool texture and has white colour accompanied by green patches. It grows in moist places such as filters of air conditioners. 

It is an allergenic mould that can cause allergic symptoms like asthma and sometimes infections of the liver. It can also produce toxins that are also harmful.

Control of mould

If there is mould on the food then that part of food should be cut off so that it cannot spread to other parts. To control mould keep food away from moist places and also dry places which can be the source of mould.

Conclusion

In this article, we have answered the question “Can you get sick from eating mould?”, classification of mould, its types and how to protect food from the attack of mould. 

References

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.