Mold in Food
There are thousands of varieties of mold in the environment. Mold can be beneficial to the environment as they break down organic waste. Some molds are used to create desirable products such as penicillin and blue cheese, but when mold breaks down or poisons good food or causes damage to property, measures must be taken to stop it.
Undesirable mold can grow on grain, meat, cheese, bread, fruit, and vegetables. Aflatoxin, a cancer -causing mycotoxin produced by mold, can be produced by mold growing on field corn. Ingestion of Stachybotrys mold can be fatal to both humans and animals.
Mold spores are airborne and just as they can land on a damp cardboard box in a basement and begin to grow, so can they do that on food. When mold grows on anything but a hard surface, it “roots” itself; as such, even though the surface mold is cleaned away, the roots allow the mold to re-establish. These roots will grow into moldy food as well. Unlike other foods though, hard cheese can still be consumed when the moldy sections are cut away as long as at least an inch is taken from the area below the mold. This applies to hard cheese only. Moldy soft cheeses must be thrown away. All other foods (except perhaps hard salami or dry cured ham) should be thrown away. For safety’s sake, when in doubt, throw it out.
Probably everyone is familiar with the scenario of finding a forgotten storage container of leftovers at the back of the refrigerator. This answers the question of whether or not mold can grow in colder temperatures. If the container was not airtight, it is prudent to wash the inside of the refrigerator, minimally the shelf and surrounding area where that moldy food sat as it likely shed spores that will latch on to other foods placed in or already stored in the refrigerator. Do not handle or smell the moldy food and wash the container it was in well as there will be mold spores present within it.
It’s a good general practice to wash out the inside of the refrigerator regularly to stave off mold and of course, bacteria.
When mold is found growing within a home it often requires more than washing to eliminate it. If there are large areas of mold such as within the wood of a structure, behind walls, in drywall, in carpeting, or in attics or in basements, or insulation, more extensive measures are necessary to remove it. When problems such as these are found, contact mold remediation professionals who can advise regarding the best measures to take, and who can perform those measures when necessary and requested.Tweet