Should I eat fruits and vegetables that have come into contact with moldy foods and how dangerous is it?

By Jurassic JennApr 19, 2024 17:35 PMDiets and Nutrition
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Should I eat fruits and vegetables that have come into contact with moldy foods
Should I eat fruits and vegetables that have come into contact with moldy foods. Source: www.huffpost.com

You've probably heard the expression that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. Although this metaphor is more likely to refer to people whose behavior is bad for the reputation of the team, it is perfectly applicable to the fruits and vegetables in your fridge.

SSPDaily writes: "What do you do when you find a single rotten grape or moldy pepper in a package? Do you throw them all away or keep the food that's not damaged by the fungus?"

"While a single rotten apple can ruin the whole bunch, it takes time," says Matt Regushi, who is involved in food safety inspection, certification, and consulting.

"There's no need to throw out the whole box of vegetables because of one piece of fruit or vegetable that's rotten just throw out the food that's rotten."

He also added that foods touched by mold are likely to be safe to eat if washed beforehand and eaten quickly. However, you should be careful.

Below, we explain how a spoiled product can affect neighboring products and how to determine whether it is safe to eat.

How does mold affect food?

Science knows hundreds of thousands of species of mold – microscopic fungi that parasitize plant and animal organisms. It reproduces by releasing spores into the air, as well as through water or insects.

In this way, mold can easily pass from one fruit or vegetable to another that touches it. Therefore, you should first throw away moldy foods and then inspect the rest for infection. If you observe traces of fungus on them or the skin of the products is mushy (discolored), this vegetable (fruit) should also be thrown away.

Why is mold dangerous?

Some types of mold can be eaten, for example, in cheeses. Others can produce mycotoxins that cause illness, although we usually do not come into contact with them in our daily lives. Moldy foods can also harbor bacteria. It is they, not mold, that usually cause foodborne illnesses.

How safe are foods that have had moldy "neighbors"?

Don't see mold growing on a fruit or vegetable that has been exposed to mold? Such foods can be washed under running water and eaten later.

The likelihood of getting sick after eating a fresh product that has touched a rotten one is low, especially if you do not have any health problems. However, people with mold allergies or a weakened immune system are still at greater risk.

The physical properties of foods also play a role in safety. For example, for hard fruits and vegetables with a low moisture content, such as cabbage, bell peppers, and carrots, you can simply cut off 2-3 cm around the area under a small spot of mold. However, it is better not to touch the mold itself with the knife so as not to contaminate the food with cross-contamination.

However, soft fruits with a high moisture content, such as tomatoes, peaches, and cucumbers with traces of mold, should be thrown away immediately.

Important! Do not sniff moldy foods, as you risk inhaling mold spores, which can cause respiratory illness. You can also get sick if your skin comes into contact with the fungus.

Remember that even if the food looks normal or you have removed moldy bits, it may not be safe to eat. Pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella are not visible to the naked eye.

How to prevent mold growth?

Do not keep raw meat and other foods near cooked foods, wash your hands frequently when preparing and handling food, and put a kitchen thermometer in the refrigerator to make sure the temperature does not exceed +4.5 degrees Celsius.

If you accidentally eat something moldy and have an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms may include sudden onset of shortness of breath, nausea, fever, or diarrhea.

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