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Is It Safe To Cut Mold Off of Food and Eat The Rest of It

How to protect your food from mold and easy spoiling.

The green mold that has caught on the surface of bread or other type of food, as well as dark spots on fruit, are spores that are visible to the naked eye. These are small particles that give mold its characteristic color. However, you should know that the rest of the mold, its roots and branches, are hardly visible because they penetrate deep within the food.

Because the speckled spores on the surface of food are only a part of the mold, scraping and cutting this part off of your food will not save you from eating small parts of the fungus.

“Most types of mold are harmless, but some of them are dangerous,” said Nadine Shaw, a specialist of technical information at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some molds contain mycotoxins, poisonous substances that can cause allergic reactions or respiratory problems. In fact, one of these, called apfatoxin, has been known to cause cancer, Shaw said.


Mycotoxins can be found in molds that grow on grains and nuts, as well as in grape juice, celery, apples and other types of food, according to USDA. The infamous aflatoxin is most commonly found in corn and peanut crops, and therefore it is regularly monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the USDA.

In order to protect your food from mold and quick spoiling, Shaw gives the following advice:

  • Cover your food so that it is protected from the air, which contains mold spores.
  • Use food containers for storage that can be closed tightly and keep them properly in the fridge.
  • Use food leftovers in a period of 3-4 days maximum.

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