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Burning Question: When Is It OK to Eat Moldy Food?

The other day, a co-worker asked me whether it was OK to eat a piece of cheese that had grown slightly moldy. That question sparked a discussion on how to handle moldy foods. Can you ever simply cut off the bad parts and proceed to eat the rest? Find out the answer when you read more.

Any food completely covered in mold should be tossed. Discard cooked meats, poultry, casseroles, and grains — generally, leftovers — if mold is detected, because they have a high moisture content, and contamination has permeated below the food's surface. Toss baked goods, because their porousness puts them at high risk. Also nix delicate produce, preserves, yogurt, sour cream, and softer cheeses.

It's not unusual to see dry-cured meats like hard salami covered in a bit of surface mold. Scrub or cut the mold off the surface before eating it. The same applies to firm cheeses, such as pecorino romano or parmesan, which are impenetrable to anything beyond surface mold.


Firm produce — like cabbage, bell peppers, and carrots — can be saved, too, as long as the mold is cut away. Cheeses made with mold are tricky; brie, camembert, and other washed-rind cheeses shouldn't be consumed if they contain mold that's not part of the manufacturing process. Other selections, like gorgonzola and stilton, can be used if the moldy spot is removed.

Got a burning question? Contact us.

Source: Flickr Users The Wong Family Pictures and RogueSun Media

Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
The only food I'll cut mold off is cheese (like a brick of cheddar). I HATE to waste food, but I've had food poisoning twice and take steps to insure it won't happen again. To anyone who hasn't had food poisoning before, I lost 5 pounds in 3 days and the weight didn't come back, that's how bad it was. High fever and NOTHING stayed in... December 16th, 2004, that was my worst case (first day) and I will never forget. Ever.
muse2323 muse2323 7 years
My husband rejoiced when he saw me cutting the moldy part of a chunk of parmesan; apparently he hasn't known many women who bother with moldy cheese.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I hate moldy just grosses me out to think of eating something that had been covered with little spores. My dad always saved food that was moldy by cutting off the moldy parts, but as a kid I still refused to eat it. He would cut the moldy crusts off of bread and would cut mold off of cheese. You have to be really careful with bad food, dad got food poisoning once from eating a piece of moldy pineapple upside-down cake. He thought the mold was powdered sugar and ate it!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
I always cut around the mold or if its beyond saving, toss it. I hate wasting food though.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 7 years
The cheese in the pic looks more than "slighly" moldy. Yuck!
weffie weffie 7 years
My sister used to get frustrated with her bf because he refused to toss old veggies into the composter ("they're good for soup!") but eventually came around & agreed to hold onto them because his soups were damn delicious! You'd never even know he'd trimmed off nasty rotting bits :)
syako syako 7 years
I hate to waste too. Thanks for the answer.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
good tips, I hate to see usable food go to waste
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