Mold Facts

in doubt, throw it out!

Molds have been called the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
the microorganic world.
In some applications, like the making of various cheeses, wines and
antibiotics, molds are essential.  The
blue in blue cheese, the savory sweetness of some rare white wines and the
effectiveness of penicillin in fighting diseases are all due to the harnessing
of different kinds of molds.  But
the molds we encounter in our kitchens are the slimy, scabby, rotten, cottony or
luridly colored growths we see on the surfaces of foods that been kept too long
in the cooler under conditions that encourage the growth of the scores of molds
that naturally contaminate the food environment.

While some molds are known to
produce poisonous by-products called mycotoxins which are toxic to man, the
molds one finds in the restaurant, the food store or at home are not hazardous
to health and are not likely to do much more than turn your stomach at the sight
or smell of them.

Can moldy foods be salvaged? 
In the past, it was said that if the food product was hard or firm, like
an apple or pear or a chunk of cheddar cheese, you could cut out he moldy part
and at least one inch around and under it, and then use the rest. 
The current Food Code up for adoption, recommends that any food item that
contains mold (and the mold is not a natural part of the product), should be
discarded and not used.  If you are
unsure as to what to do, follow the rule for all questionable food items:  When
in Doubt, Throw it Out!

 Here is a list of items that should definitely
be tossed if they are found to be moldy:

  • Cucumbers

  •  Tomatoes

  • Spinach,
    lettuce, other leafy greens

  • Bananas,

  • Melons

  • Berries

  • Breads,
    cakes, rolls, flour

  • Cheeses
    like Brie of mozzarella

  • Luncheon
    meat and cheese slices

  • Yogurt,
    tub spreads

  • Cream
    cheese, cottage cheese, etc.

  • Canned

  • Peanut

  • Juices

  • Most
    cooked leftovers

Food Talk, Charles Felix Associates, Copyright 1997)


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