There are many types of molds that show up on foods. As a child, I remember members of my family cutting mold of bread, which we ate and lived. I never knew anyone who got sick from it. But now I have been studying a bit about molds and have some concerns about bread molds. In an emergency in which we have to make our own bread, it would not contain preservatives and would therefore mold quickly. Bread that had been made under unsanitary conditions and is stored warm and moist can mold within a couple days of being made.
Some authorities say that to prevent this growth on bread surfaces, the bread can be baked at a temperature of 400 degrees. Another old fashion method to prevent mold is to add vinegar. Acetic acid one of the main ingredients in vinegar is one of the world’s oldest natural food preservatives. Vinegar contains 5% acetic acid, which kills bacteria and other micro-organisms
It isn’t okay to eat moldy bread even after the mold has been cut off, as surface mold is more than what you see. It actually has hyphae or roots which can penetrate deeper into the food.
There is no guarantee that only one particular chain or type of mold grows on bread. Jackson Kung’u, a microbiologist from the Mycological Society of America, notes multiple cases where humans have eaten moldy bread and either became ill or died from doing so. Depending on the type of mold growing on the bread, it could contain gangrenous ergotisms, alimentary toxic aleukia, Stachybotrys chartarum or aflatoxicosis. These are just a few examples of the types of bacterium or fungi that can grow on bread. Of course, this does not mean that every mold is harmful. Penicillium camembertii and Penicillium roquefortii, fusarium venenatum, aspergillus oryzae and other types of mold are used as food cultures for some foods, such as cheeses, and are harmless.
While not all bread mold is harmful, it’s better to not take the chance.
Susan Brewer, Ph.D., R.D. a Professor of Food Science at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition University of Illinois states the following about mold safety.
If the foods shows even a tiny spot of mold, follow these guidelines.
Hard or firm foods with tiny mold spots can be trimmed, cut away the area around the mold (at least an inch) and rewrap in clean wrap. Make sure the knife does not touch the mold.
- Hard cheese (cheddar, Swiss, etc)
- Bell peppers, carrots, cabbage
- Broccoli, cauliflower
- Brussels sprouts
- Garlic, onions
- Potatoes, turnips
- Apples, pears
Soft foods such as cheese slices, cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt should be thrown away.
- Soft cheeses (mozzarella, brie, etc.)
- Sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese
- Bacon, hot dogs, sliced lunchmeats
- Meat pies
- Open canned hams
- Most left over foods
- Bread, cakes, rolls, flour, pasty
- Peanut butter
- Juices, berries
- Jam, jellies, syrups
- Cucumbers, tomatoes
- Spinach, lettuce, other leafy vegetables
- Bananas, peaches, melons
- Corn on the cob
- Stored nuts, whole grains, rice
Now if you are like me you have probably violated some of these rules either by accident or on purpose and lived. In a real emergency without medical help available, it becomes more important to avoid taking unnecessary chances. There may be a time when to save your life you have to take the gamble, but avoid it until it becomes necessary.