Can I remove a moldy part from food and eat the rest?

By Susan Brewer, Ph.D., University of Illinois,
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

With a very few exceptions, moldy food should be discarded.  Here are some guidelines for specific food groups:
•  Hard salami the mold on the surface can be scrubbed or trimmed off, and the product can be used. 
• Cheeses with mold as part of the process of making them (Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Blue, Brie, Camembert) can be trimmed as long as you can trim off at least 1 inch. (However, the moldy flavor may have penetrated the product.)
   These cheeses are manufactured using mold.  Generally, the mold on the surface is the same as what was used to make the cheese (which is safe).  Other hard cheeses with mold on them should be discarded.  They were not made with mold, they were made by bacterial fermentation.  So the mold on the surface could be anything.
•  Most soft cheeses (cottage, cream cheese, Neufchatel), crumbled, shredded, and sliced cheeses (all types) should be discarded when they develop mold.
• Hard fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots and turnips have low water content, so the mold can’t penetrate deeply into them.  They can be trimmed and used.  Cut off at least 1 inch around and below the moldy spot.  Take care not to get the knife in the mold itself so as not to cross-contaminate the healthy tissue.
• Soft fruits and vegetables (such as strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, and cucumbers) have a high water content , so the mold can easily penetrate into them.  They should be discarded.
• All other foods such as cured meats (hot dogs, bacon), fresh meat and poultry, rice and pasta products, breads and baked goods, legumes, all nuts, milk products (such as yogurt) and  jams and jellies should be discarded.
Source(s): “Safe Food Handling / Molds On Food: Are They Dangerous?”


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