Is It Safe To Eat Cheese With Mold on It?

Is It Safe To Eat Cheese With Mold on It?

By Caroline Praderio February 29, 2016 - From

The situation: You bought a really nice wedge of Parmesan that you've been meaning to dig into all week, but when you finally pull it from the fridge and get ready to grate it over your pasta, you see it: Fuzzy, greenish-blue spots of mold have sprouted all over your expensive cheese.

What you're worried about: You definitely don't want to chuck the whole thing in the trash. But is it safe to cut off the moldy part and eat the rest?

The very worst that could happen: In rare cases, some molds produce toxins that can make you extremely sick—one of these toxins is even linked to liver cancer.

But first, let's back up a little. The most important thing to know when it comes to the health dangers of mold is the type of food you find it on, whether it's cheese, bread, meat, fruits, or veggies. With hard foods like Parmesan, carrots, and salami, it's totally safe to remove the moldy area and keep eating. But with soft foods like Brie, bread, or grapes, you should toss the entire thing in the trash. (Here are the best clean eating cheese snacks for cheese lovers.)

"Think of mold as a weed," says Susan Whittier, PhD, director of the clinical microbiology service at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. "Even though you pull it out, it still has roots and it's just going to grow back." In other words, even if you can't see it, mold spreads through soft foods like grapes, spoiling the whole batch even if you remove the fuzzy spots. But dense, hard foods like Parmesan are safe, since mold can't penetrate and spread.


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