We know that mould is a rather important ingredient in some cheese making, and we certainly couldn’t sit down to enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese platter, with some lovely stinky blue cheese on offer, but what about other food items? Is cutting off that mouldy bit on your bread okay or could it make you ill?
The big question many of us wonder about when we’re tossing up whether to just cut off the mouldy bit and make that sandwich or get in the car and head to the bakery is: will cutting off the mouldy bits make my food safe?
According to Dr Alisa Hocking of the CSIRO in this piece with the ABC earlier this year, there are two factors that should help in making your decision. Those factors are the moisture content of the food and the density of the food.
Dr Hocking says that food items like hard cheese should be okay with just cutting off the mould, but to ensure you cut with a margin around the mould – don’t just grate it off. Bread on the other hand should be thrown out due to the ease in which mould can travel through bread and be in places you can’t see. Other items that should be tossed in the bin are dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, dips and cottage cheese.
Cheese is an interesting one. While hard cheese should be ok as the mould spores have trouble moving through the density of the product, you do need to keep an eye on soft cheeses, even those that have mould used in the process of producing them. If you spot mould on cheeses like blue cheese or camembert that isn’t consistent with the type of mould used in production, it should make it’s way to the bin rather than your mouth.
But surely you could just scrape off the mould from your yoghurt right?
The short answer is no. Mould takes a lot longer to appear than bacteria, so by the time the mould shows up, the food is likely full of bacteria and mould spores that you can’t see. The most common moulds to appear on foods are Aspergillus, Penicillium and Botrytis, the last which appears as the fur you see on berries. While rare, these moulds can cause illness including tremors, muscle weakness, headaches, fever and vomiting.
What can be saved and what should be thrown away?
When in doubt throw it out. Despite all research, if Mould appears the food needs to disappear, your health and the health of your family is much more important.
Which brings us to our brand new MouldMen Cheese Bags. Our gift to our valued clients this year for Christmas are calico food safe hard cheese bags. They keep hard cheese mould free for much longer. All you do is place in your cheese, open plastic packaging end first, and pull the drawstring tight. Then pop it in the dairy part of your fridge and enjoy your hard cheeses lasting longer. We have 20 to give away, all you have to do is post this blog article on your Facebook feed, share with your friends and tag us in the story and we will happily post one to you.