Mold on food: eat it or throw it away?

Mold on food forms in every home. Hosts often wonder whether it is enough to remove the moldy part of the product or to throw it away completely. «It depends on the product itself,» explains Ilya Fedorovich Nelbakh, Ph.D. from the Institute of Sports Nutrition. «Basically, consumers need to know that some mold strokes can release poisonous, sometimes even cancer-causing substances, the so-called mycotoxins. They are able to penetrate food, especially if the latter contains a lot of water.» Therefore, they can be found even in places where there is no mold itself.

Some foods can be salvaged even when there are signs of «mold»; others, on the contrary, should not be used even after cutting off the mold!

We all know mold is bad. That if you eat a green roll or sausage with a smell, you can get serious poisoning, and everything that smells of sour must be urgently thrown into the trash can.

Nevertheless, many do not disdain either the smell of sausage, or loaves with green spots, or even sour cream. And after all, they are alive and even healthy! Why? The point is not that some poisonous mold grows in the refrigerator, while others — an edible «noble» one. It’s just that some food can indeed be salvageable even if there are signs of «moldiness»; others, on the contrary, should not be consumed even after cutting off the mold.

How to distinguish one from the other, and how exactly to save food from mold? Here are some guidelines from the US Food Safety Authority (FSIS).

Meat products

Sausages, boiled sausages — discard. If a small white bloom does not in itself scare you away from your favorite sausage, be aware that something more terrible than simple mold can be hidden under it. For example, bacteria that multiply much faster than the named fungus and, moreover, are not visible to the naked eye. Moreover, simply removing the white film from the surface of the product, you will not get rid of bacteria. So it is better not to risk it and send the sausages that have lost their presentation to the garbage chute.

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Dry-cured sausage, jerky — leave. In the most widespread variety of dry-cured sausage — Salami — mold is added initially to give a special taste and aroma. So a small layer of whitish bloom is absolutely normal for this sausage. The same goes for homemade cured meats, ham, etc. True, it is better to remove plaque from them all the same — and the rest can be safely put on sandwiches.

Discard bacon. Bacon is minimally processed, and therefore retains a lot of moisture, which mold adores. If the fungus has appeared on the visible part of the meat, most likely, it «ate it» inside, which means it cannot be eaten.

Ham, chop, loin — discard. Some varieties of ham are practically not served to the fungus due to the high salt content (which, by the way, saves them from bacterial contamination). But nevertheless, certain types of mold feel quite comfortable in such an unfavorable environment, especially since such products are distinguished by quite suitable humidity for this. The moral is this: the ham can lie in the refrigerator for a very long time, but if even the slightest signs of mold appear on it, it’s time to send it to the trash can.

Dairy produce

Leave hard cheeses. Mold should be cut off from cheddar or Parmesan along with a centimeter layer of cheese — it’s a pity, of course, but this, in any case, is better than throwing out the whole piece at once. Moreover, after the operation to remove the cheese, it is imperative to pack it in a new layer of cling film (fresh paper, bag, etc.) and thoroughly wash the knife and cutting board so as not to introduce mold spores on other products.

Blue cheeses are a moot point. Throw away soft cheeses like brie and Camembert right away. Fortunately, it is very easy to distinguish noble mold from poisonous mold on them — both in color and in texture.

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But harder varieties (Gorgonzola, for example) can still be saved. Cut out a speck of mold from the surface of the cheese — and enjoy only the fungus that was planted there by the manufacturer.

Cheese platters, grated cheese, burger cheese — discard. Portioned cheese for burgers, as a rule, is made from soft varieties with a high moisture content, which means that mold can easily be taken into its very «insides». As for sliced ​​and grated cheeses, regardless of the variety, the fungus easily moves from one piece to another, and if a white bloom is visible on one slice, its absence on the other does not mean anything. Take it easy and dispose of all packaging.

Yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream — discard. Soft and moist — These foods are the easiest targets for mold to spread in hours. Even a small green speck says that you will have to say goodbye to the whole jar.

Hot dishes

Casseroles — discard. As with yogurt, the mold on the surface of such a dish can only be the tip of the iceberg. Even if your casserole is «assembled» from several products (for example, a layer of potatoes on the bottom, then meat, and then vegetables and sauce), do not try to save any of them. Close contact and high humidity make infection almost inevitable.

Throw out the pasta. Essentially, pasta is a flour made from eggs and soaked in water. What could be better for a moisture-hungry fungus? Moreover, he can hide inside the dough, without even showing himself on its surface, and the only sign of spoilage will be the smell. In general, we saw and smelled mold — down with the entire pan; and don’t forget to rip it out well.

Dishes of meat and poultry — throw away. A layer of mold can again indicate the presence of bacteria that multiply in the meat much faster than the fungus itself. And they threaten much worse food poisoning or intestinal infections — so that, no matter how sorry for a festive roast or a grilled chicken, health is still more expensive.

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Fruits, vegetables and others like them

Throw away soft fruits, vegetables, berries. Of course, there are few hunters for rotten strawberries. But, say, an orange or a banana, which has mold only on the peel — can you eat it or not? Better not. Because the fungus can be inside the pulp of the fruit, where it is not visible, but this does not mean that it is not there.

Leave hard fruits and waxes. With carrots, cabbage or, for example, bell peppers, mold is no longer so easy to deal with — it’s too hard and dry. Cut off the spoiled area, and feel free to eat the rest.

Throw out nuts, cereals, legumes. One of the most poisonous types of mold loves to grow on nuts, and especially on peanuts. Moreover, despite the apparent strength of this product, its consistency is, in fact, very soft — due to the high content of vegetable fats. In general, fungus can also hide inside healthy looking nuts.

Jam — throw away. Fruit preserves, due to the content of citric acid or other preservatives, are usually reliably protected from pathogenic bacteria. But mold is not at all so susceptible to these substances, so it can easily get to your sweets and, like in any other soft product, spreads there quickly and imperceptibly.

Baking, bread

Throw it away. Bakery products mold the fastest, and the fungus may not even have any external manifestations. If green spots appear on one half of the loaf, do not try to cut off the crust or use the other half: the mold is there, you just don’t see it.

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