Mold on Bread

We’ve all seen it.  Black, blue, or green fuzz growing on the top of the bread you put in your cupboard a few days ago.   That fuzz is mold.

Mold is a member of the fungi family, which is a separate categorization from plants and animals.  Possibly the most well-known member of the fungi family is mushrooms.

Fungi is defined as a plant without chlorophyll, which means it cannot get energy directly from the sun as other plants can.  This means that fungi must use other plants and animals as its food source.

Although mold can grow on many types of foods, mold on bread is common because bread provides a very desirable source of nutrients for mold.  It’s often kept in a warm area of your home – a cupboard or breadbox rather than the refrigerator.  It’s moist.  And mold likes the ingredients in bread.

Although you cannot see them, there are millions of mold spores in the air around you.  These spores then settle on the bread in your cupboard and start to multiply.  Mold on bread reproduces as long as there is a food source.  Sometimes mold reproduces very rapidly – mold can sometimes double in size in an hour.

While mold will grow better in a warm environment, it can grow in cooler temperatures such as your refrigerator as well, which means you cannot avoid moldy bread simply by putting it in your refrigerator.

Is it Dangerous to Eat Bread with Mold on it?

Mold can cause illness, especially if a person is allergic to mold.  Most often though, eating moldy bread will just make you feel nauseated and you may vomit from the bad taste and perhaps the smell of the moldy bread.

Most mold on bread is harmless.  Some molds are poisonous though and can make you very ill.  For that reason, eating moldy bread should be avoided.  It isn’t enough to just cut out the moldy portions of bread because mold can grow inside the bread as well.

If you’ve eaten bread with mold on it, don’t panic.  Moldy bread won’t have an effect on someone with a normal immune system.  There is a slight risk of pulmonary illness in those with a compromised immune system such as AIDS.  And of course, if you’re allergic to mold, you must avoid bread with mold on it.

The best way to manage bread products is to only keep amounts that can be eaten in a day or two in a cupboard.  The rest can be frozen, and thawed in a closed plastic bag as you need it.

How to Handle Bread with Mold on it

If you find moldy bread:

  • Don’t smell it because this can cause respiratory problems
  • Put the bread into a small plastic or paper bag and dispose of it in a covered trash can that children can’t get into
  • Clean the area where you were storing the bread
  • Check nearby items because mold spreads quickly

References:
Wiki Answers : http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_dangerous_is_it_to_eat_molded_bread
United States Department of Agriculture : http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/molds_on_food/

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