Diet & Nutrition

When it’s ok to eat mouldy food

“There’s nothing wrong with a bit of mould! Just cut it off and dig in!”

High profile chefs and restaurateurs have revealed their thoughts on food wastage and use-by dates in a revealing series of interviews in The Guardian.
While all the chefs said they rigidly stick to use-by dates at work, they are much more relaxed at home, admitting to cutting the furry mould off items in their fridge and consuming them without a second thought.
“I had a bit of pancetta at home and it had a bit of mould on it,” chef and restaurateur Angela Hartnett said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. If I think something is off, I throw it away, but I think it’s fine I eat it.”
But the CSIRO urges caution when it comes to consuming mouldy food. A 2014 report revealed which foods could survive a mould haircut, and which should be discarded immediately.
Foods you can cut the mould off:
Cheddar cheese, salami and other deli meat, hard vegetables like carrots
Foods you can’t save:
Cooked casseroles, soft fruit and vegetables, pastes/sauces, soft cheeses, breads and cakes
“A good rule of thumb to judge whether a mouldy food can be ‘saved’ is its moisture content or firmness,” the report reads. “Foods with a high moisture content such as cooked casseroles, soft fruit and vegetables, pastes/sauces and soft cheeses can have invisible hyphae growing below the surface and producing mycotoxins.
“The same is true for porous foods such as bread and cakes where the hyphae can penetrate. All of these foods should be discarded if you see mould on the surface.
“Conversely a cheddar, or a salami, or carrot, that have dense structure are less likely to have extensive hyphal growth away from the visible mycelium. In these cases the mycelium can be cut away (to a centimetre or two depth) and the remaining food consumed with little risk.”
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