reading time 4 minutes
You take some food from the fridge or kitchen cupboard and what do you see there? Mold! On your bread, tomatoes, cheese or jam, for example… What is the best thing to do, cut or throw away?
Mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes. Of course you have the edible mushrooms in the form of mushrooms or oyster mushrooms. And where would blue cheese be without mold? Such as the characteristic blue mold in the famous blue mold cheeses Roquefort and Gorgonzola. Did you know that they are also used in food preparation? Yeast (single-celled fungi) allow us to enjoy beer, bread and wine.
Cut away and eat or throw away?
If there is mold on your food, then there is spoilage. Sometimes you only see a small part of the fungus, often one or more white spots with a tinge of blue or green. Often the mushroom threads are already through the rest of the food.
What should you do if you notice mold? When is it enough to cut the moldy part? And when is it important to throw out the contaminated food completely?
It is possible to cut away with these foods
In some cases, it is enough to cut away the moldy part. Can you see mold on foods on this list? Then cut it generously (at least a few centimeters around it). You can still eat afterwards.
For cheese, the longer it has matured, the harder it is. Well-known hard cheeses are Parmesan cheese, Swiss Emmentaler and French Comté. Dutch Gouda, Edam cheese and farmer’s cheese are also included. These cheeses have a firm structure and contain less water than soft cheeses.
Apples and pears are hard fruits. In this case, hard means particularly strong and long-lasting, and not so much the opposite of soft.
Dried sausage and ham are still edible when the mold part is cut away.
For example, cabbage (from cauliflower and broccoli to Brussels sprouts), carrots, peppers and potatoes.
Use your common sense. Is a large part affected? Then it is better to throw out the above food. Potatoes can also be affected by the toxic solanine, which can be recognized by green spots on the potatoes. These can also be cut (wide) away.
Throw away these foods
Unfortunately, the English saying applies to most foods Better to be on the safe side. In other words, to be safe, it is better to throw it away with mold. Fungal threads may have already penetrated the rest of the product.
Food in a jar
For example jam, applesauce or peanut butter. Do not discard the sponge. It is best to discard the contents and throw the glasses in the glass container.
Soft fruits and vegetables
Strawberries, berries, peaches, tomatoes and cucumber are examples of soft fruits and vegetables. These have a fairly short shelf life.
Legumes and nuts
Discard the entire package, not just the affected part.
Soft cheese, grated cheese and slices of cheese
Throw away spread cheese, soft (cream) cheese and grated cheese if there is mold on it. This also applies to sliced cheese.
Bread, cakes and pastries
Perhaps the most famous food due to the presence of mold is bread. Even if you only see a small spot, it’s still best to throw it away.
Yoghurt, cottage cheese and other dairy
Mold can quickly penetrate deep into this due to the moist environment. So don’t throw it away, throw it away.
Have you stored leftovers and found mold on them? Don’t eat them, throw them away.
Mycotoxins can be harmful to health
Mushrooms can have a harmful effect. They produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. These protect the mushroom itself from bacteria and other fungi, but mycotoxins can be harmful to human health. You have to ingest a lot of these mushroom poisons often if they really want to do any harm.
There are many types of mycotoxins. Each variety has a ‘preference’ for a certain type of food. For example, there are different fungi toxins on apples than on nuts or cereals. The pathogenic properties are also different. It causes acute abdominal pain or diarrhoea. Other mycotoxins increase the risk of cancer with long-term and regular consumption.
Final cleaning tips
Fungi reproduce by means of spores. These can spread quickly through the air. As long as sufficient moisture and a suitable nutrient medium in the form of food are available, propagation can proceed rapidly. Fungi also like a moist environment. Therefore, they can be spread in a refrigerator. The lower temperature does not bother them.
Has food you stored in the refrigerator been affected by mold? Then there is a good chance that spores have spread. In that case, it is wise to clean the refrigerator.
For example, has bread been contaminated? Then it is best to clean the bread bin or your kitchen cupboard too. This prevents your new storage from quickly becoming infected.
Do you come across food with mold that you want to throw away? So don’t wait for this. Also check if you can wrap the food in plastic or paper before throwing it away. This will prevent the spores from spreading easily and the fungus from multiplying.
Sources: Food Safety and Inspection Service, Mumc+, Nutrition Center, RIVM