We’ve all eaten mold at some point, or at the very least, tasted it. A small amount, even a visually undetectable amount, is enough to leave a bad taste. What happens if you accidentally swallow a moldy food product? Is eating mold bad for you?
The most common place to accidentally ingest mold is on bread and pastry products. Growing up, it was common to hear “just cut that part off, it the same as penicillin!” It is tempting to simply remove the fuzzy discolored section and carry on, but health experts do warn against that.
Health experts say it is dangerous to cut off the green parts and consume what’s left because mold can root deeply into soft foods such as breads. Unlike the mold (P. roqueforti or Penicillium roqueforti spores) used for Roquefort, blue, Gorgonzola and Stilton cheese, the mold you find on bread isn’t a benign source of extra fiber.
While inhaling the tiny mold spores can be dangerous, people who eat moldy food can suffer respiratory problems and even allergic reactions.
Don’t cry over your tossed loaves, though. Health experts say that there are many hardy foods that can withstand a bit of mold growth. Due to their hardness, food such as salamis, hard cheeses and many vegetables have tough surfaces. Surface mold on these can be cut off with a clean knife with an inch or so buffer around the fuzz.