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If you're one of those people who cuts mould off food before eating it, read on
If you cut mould off your bread, you may be putting your health at risk
You’re in a rush for breakfast and your last piece of bread has a spot of mould on it. If you’re like a lot of folks, you might consider removing the mouldy spot and eating the bread anyway, but you need to know that moulds can be a hazard to your health.
Moulds are microscopic fungi that live on plant or animal matter. They grow from tiny spores that are transported by air, water or insects, and their growth is encouraged by warm or humid conditions. When these spores end up on a piece of damp food, they grow into moulds that produce chemicals that break down the food and make it rot.
Moulds typically consist of three parts:
Under the right conditions, some moulds produce poisonous substances (mycotoxins) that can trigger allergic reactions, respiratory problems and even more serious illness. The only part of the mould you see is on the surface of the food. However, where there is heavy mould growth, root threads have usually invaded deeper and toxins may have spread throughout the food.
It’s been suggested that firm fruits and vegetables and hard cheeses with a small mould spot can be eaten if you cut away an area one-inch (2.5-cm) around and deep. However, no matter how small the visible spot, mould can penetrate deep into foods, so the very best advice remains “if in doubt, throw it out.”
Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.