We have all had the sad experience of going into the kitchen for a snack but being left with an empty belly and a garbage can that’s a bit fuller because your red berries started turning blue.
Unfortunately, mold does not discriminate, so no matter how clean your kitchen is or how much you spent on groceries, it may begin to sprout on your food.
Finding mold on your food is disappointing and maybe even concerning. You may be left wondering what mold is exactly if it’s harmful and whether the food has to go in the trash. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about moldy food.
Mold is a living organism that some fungi form when provided the ideal environment for growth.
Mold growth is a natural part of the environment and usually grows in dark, moist areas where oxygen is present. Some molds are dangerous, however, mold exposure is generally not a concern if exposure is not frequent.
Mold is often found on bread products and fruit, but when it comes to mold sprouts, nothing is safe. There are many different types of mold, but some are more common or toxic than others.
Yellow mold- Yellow mold is most commonly found in the aspergillus strain and is commonly found on moist foods like bread. This mold is often fuzzy and may quickly turn grey or green.
Black mold- Although most people panic at the sight of black mold, the black mold found on food is much less harmful than that found on the walls of a home. Rhizopus stolonifer or black mold is commonly found on bread or the rubber seals of your refrigerator. If you find this mold, you should scrub the affected area with bleach water to be safe.
Pink mold- Pink discolorations or spots on your food may not be mold; it might be a bacteria called Serratia marcescens. However, there are other pink molds called aureobasidium and fusarium which are commonly found on starchy or sugar-based foods.
White mold- White mold, or sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is a fuzzy mold often found on fruits and veggies.
Green mold- When we think of mold, the fluffy green strains usually come to mind. Green molds are common and could be one of many strains. However, cladosporium is the most common green mold, and it’s usually seen on bread and citrus fruit.
Orange mold- There are a variety of orange molds, but the most common are; fuligo septica and aleuria aurantia. This slimy orange mold thrives on wood left outdoors, but rarely, it may be found on some yeast-rich food items.
Red mold- Neurospora, or red mold, is an uncommon strain and is much less harmful. This mold is normally found on damp wood, but it’s sometimes seen on bread or fruits.
Blue mold- Penicillium is a blue mold that grows on moist food items like bread, fruit, and veggies. This mold strain is one of the most common and thrives in humid areas.
Although mold comes in a rainbow of colors, it is anything but pretty. Some molds are more toxic than others, but exposure to most of these molds can be harmful.
Mold is not only harsh on the eyes but harsh on the respiratory tract and stomach as well.
Before you panic clean your kitchen, you should know that now all molds are harmful. To be more specific only molds that give off mycotoxins are considered harmful, and you probably won’t have any respiratory or stomach irritation unless you have an autoimmune condition.
Mycotoxins are a type of toxic gas that some molds give off.
Stachybotrys chartarum, aspergillus flavus, aspergillus fumigatus, and aspergillus versicolor are mycotoxin producers.
Some individuals attempt to save moldy food by cutting out the infected section. However, since molds are hard to differentiate, it’s best to toss moldy items.
In most cases, mold’s chia pet-like appearance makes infection easy to spot. However, you may be consuming or inhaling mold without knowing.
Some unsuspecting places mold might be hiding are:
In your reusable bottles- If you don’t clean your bottles or sippy cups well or put them away while still damp, mold may begin to grow inside the screw cap.
On your cannabis- Because cannabis naturally has a moldy look and is covered in pistillate hairs, it can be hard to determine whether or not your weed is moldy. If you consume marijuana, check out this Veriheal article to learn how to identify moldy buds.
Pacifiers- It is fairly common for mold to grow inside your baby’s pacifiers. If the pacifier has a small crease or hole, moisture can enter the sucking portion of the binky. The inside of a pacifier is the perfect spot for mold to grow since it is dark and moist. You can avoid mold exposure by replacing the pacifiers often and purchasing clear ones.