The Conundrum of What to Do with Moldy Bread: Eat It or Pitch It


Think It’s Safe to Pick Off the Mold From Bread and Eat the “Good” Part?

You get up in the morning, expecting a light breakfast of toast, jelly, and coffee and open your bread to find blue or white mold growing conspicuously on it. You’ve still got the kids lunches to make, too. What do you do?

Do you cut off the mold and eat the rest of the bread or should it all go into the garbage? The answer isn’t what you might hope. Ditch that moldy bread or risk getting ill from the mold. Even cutting off the mold may not be enough to protect you.

There’s good reason to pitch the bread. The first is to protect your family from the mold hyphae, which you pronounce high-fee. These are long thin filament-like strands that look like fuzzies when the mold is colonized and on the surface, but also grow deep into its host, the bread, and contaminates that without you seeing anything out of the ordinary.

Secondly, mold has spores. It’s the way mold reproduces. The spores float to their next destination, and any movement can make them do it, so you’ve probably contaminated more of the bread with the simple task of opening the loaf or taking out the moldy slice.

While some experts, such as Marianne H Gravely, a United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Safety and Inspection educator, suggest that if the spot is tiny, you can cut away a large amount of the bread around the mold and preserve the rest, just as long as you make the margin large enough to ensure you got it all.

One last tip, if you see mold through the wrapping, don’t even open the bag. The spores that spread from this can be as bad for you as eating the mold itself. Spores can cause an allergic reaction that leads to breathing problems. Other types of mold produce mycotoxins, a toxic material that can cause disease or death. Ironically, these are often used in antibiotics. Some molds also produce aflatoxin, a substance linked to liver cancer.
Image: Dollar Photo Club

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