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Health: How much mold on food is still tolerable?

Health: How much mold on food is still tolerable?


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Moist warm weather: what to do with mold on food?
Just bought it and it is already moldy in the fruit bowl: mold and mold often form quickly on fruits and other foods, especially in the warm, humid summer months. But what needs to be done then? Does everything have to be thrown away or can parts of it still be saved?

In summer, some foods mold very quickly
Especially in the hot season, mold can be found on various foods. A greenish-white fluff can be seen on the bread, there is a small mold island in the just opened yoghurt and white hairs form even on freshly bought strawberries. But what needs to be done then? Do infected foods generally have to be thrown away or can they still be saved? According to experts, this question cannot be answered across the board? It depends on the food.

Dangerous mycotoxins
Mold in or on food does not necessarily have to be a health hazard. Noble cultures from cheese are harmless.

However, some types of mold can form toxic metabolites, so-called mycotoxins. These can be “toxic even in the smallest amounts,” writes the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in a leaflet.

The network of mushrooms can often reach far inside the infected food. The nasty-looking furry layer on the surface is not the only dangerous one.

Experts repeatedly recommend regularly checking food stocks at home and, if necessary, disposing of moldy or expired goods.

Which foods have to go straight away
The BfR wrote in its leaflet: "Dispose of already moldy food immediately and do not leave it open any longer, because mold is" contagious "."

As the experts explain, the more fluid the food (e.g. compote, juice, soft peaches, etc.), the faster the mold and its toxins can spread. "Such infested food must be thrown away."

Infested milk and milk products as well as rotten fruit and moldy jams or jellies, meat and sausages may therefore no longer be consumed.

With air-dried sausages and ham, it is enough to generously cut away moldy spots. Mold-ripened cheeses such as Roquefort or Camembert are harmless.

If there is mold on the bread, the whole loaf should be disposed of, according to the BfR. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture's (BMEL) initiative “Too good for the bin!” Explains how mold has little chance of bread:

Accordingly, bread should be bought better than a loaf, since sliced ​​bread mold offers more surface for attack. Crumbs lying around in the bread bin promote mold formation and should therefore be removed every few days. Wipe the box with vinegar water every week.

And: "In warm, humid weather, it is better to store bread in the fridge."

Avoid mold on food
The BfR also lists a few rules in its leaflet that can help prevent mold in the food: “Buy food as fresh as possible and consume it soon. Avoid hamster purchases. ”And:“ Store food properly (clean, dry) and in a cool place. ”

Some experts are less stringent when it comes to when the food has to be thrown away.

The toxicologist Gisela Degen from the Leibniz Institute for Labor Research at the University of Dortmund explains in a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) that there are big differences between the mycotoxins.

Aflatoxins, which are found primarily in nuts, almonds and pistachios, as well as dried fruits and spices, are the most dangerous. Even deaths have already occurred as a result.

Roasting or freezing is not a solution
However, according to the expert, mold poisons that occur in the fruit are less dangerous. Since gastrointestinal complaints could probably no longer arise after ingestion, Degen believes it is justifiable to remove a single moldy fruit from the fruit basket and to eat the intact after thorough washing.

One can also consume jam if the affected area is removed generously. However, the report points out that extensive knowledge about all mycotoxins is far from being available and that pregnant women, children and the sick should be particularly careful when in doubt.

Incidentally, heat and cold are not a solution: "Mycotoxins can neither be eliminated by cooking nor by freezing," says Antje Gahl, nutritionist at the German Nutrition Society (DGE) in an older communication. (ad)

Author and source information


Video: What Happens If You Breathe In Mold Spores? (May 2022).


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