Is It Really That Bad to Eat Cheese With Mold On It?

Find out if scraping off the green is enough

moldy cheese

You’re all set to dig into that wedge of Parmesan, but when you pull it from the fridge, it doesn’t look quite like how you remembered it.

Fuzzy, greenish-blue spots of mold have sprouted all over your expensive cheese.

You don’t want to chuck the whole thing in the trash. But is it safe to cut off the moldy part and eat the rest?

Here’s the deal: With hard foods like Parmesan, carrots, and salami, it’s safe to remove the moldy area and keep eating.

But with soft foods like Brie, bread, or grapes, you should toss the entire thing in the trash. (Here are the best clean eating cheese snacks for cheese lovers.)

Related: The Better Man Project from Men’s Health—2,000+ Awesome Tips on How to Live Your Healthiest Life

“Think of mold as a weed,” says Susan Whittier, Ph.D., director of the clinical microbiology service at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. “Even though you pull it out, it still has roots and it’s just going to grow back.”

In other words, even if you can’t see it, mold spreads through soft foods like grapes, spoiling the whole batch even if you remove the fuzzy spots.

But dense, hard foods like Parmesan are safe, since mold can’t penetrate and spread.

If you do end up accidentally eating mold, though, the results can be serious.

In many people, inhaling mold while chewing can lead to respiratory problems and allergic reactions, Whittier says.

Related: Why You Should Never Wash Ready-to-Eat Lettuce

And in the worst case scenario, you could eat a mold that’s producing a poisonous substance called a mycotoxin, most commonly found in grains and nuts.

There are different types of mycotoxins and symptoms can vary, but the World Health Organization reports that consumption or exposure can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, abdominal pain, internal bleeding, and more.

One type of mycotoxin called aflatoxin is even a potent carcinogen linked to liver cancer.

Finally, mold sometimes (but not always) indicates the presence of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. (Here’s how your food gets contaminated.)

Your move: If you see mold on any soft food, even if it’s just a tiny spot, assume the whole thing is contaminated, put it in a bag (to prevent the release of mold spores), and throw it into the trash.

But if you see mold on a hard cheese or other dense food, cut at least 1 inch around the entire mold spot, Whittier says. (But don’t scrape it off, which can release mold spores.)

Then store the food in a new container or plastic wrap, since the previous one might still have mold growing inside it.

 

 

Source by menshealth

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