Saturday, June 17, 2017

Is It Bad To Eat Moldy Fruit ?

Who hasn't eating something moldy! I have and I'm sure you have and it doesn't taste good. Molds  grow on food both in and out of the refrigerator. So what should you do if you open a box of strawberries and you see a few fuzzy berries but the rest are fine, or if you left a peach on the counter and you pick it up to eat it and you see a moldy spot, or if you find a slice of bread in the package with mold but the others look fine. Should you discard these foods or can you safely eat them?

First lets talk briefly about molds so you understand what you're dealing with. Molds are microscopic fungi that live on plants and animal matter. They are threadlike organisms that produce spores. Spores can travel around and land anywhere as they are transported by air, water, and insects. Once they land on your food, they begin to feed and grow and often mold grow deeper into the food.  The mold you see on the surface of your fruit can have invisible thread-like branches and roots that go deeper inside the fruit. The higher the moisture content of the food, the more the mold can have penetrated the food. So if you see heavy mold on the surface of your food, you can assume that its roots run deeper.  Molds can cause allergic reactions in some people and some can even produce toxins in the body called mycotoxins which can make you very sick.

According to the USDA, you can safely cut the mold away from some foods and eat the rest, but this applies mostly to hard food, including hard cheeses. The USDA advises cutting off at least one inch around and below the mold making sure that you keep the knife out of the mold so it doesn't contaminate the rest of the cheese. Mold on hard vegetables like pepper, carrots, cabbage, cucumber, etc. can be cut off at least one inch around and below the moldy area and safely consumed.  The USDA  recommends discarding certain foods with visible mold including lunch meats, left over meats and chicken, cooked grains and pasta, yogurt, sour cream, bread, jams and jellies, peanut butter and nuts. So if you see mold on your yogurt, discard it because it probably is moldy throughout the yogurt since yogurt has a high moisture content allowing the mold's thread-like branches to travel deeper.

But what about bread? If you see a slice of bread in your package with mold, you should discard the whole package because the mold may not yet be visible on the other slices, but is present. Again, bread has a higher moisture content.

The peach I talked about earlier. I think it's best you discard it. As for the strawberries, discard the moldy ones, but you can still eat the rest. Also always discard berries that are clumped together with mold or fuzz.  That's my rule of thumb.

If you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system, practice extra care and avoid eating anything with mold or fuzz.


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