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Mold and Food: What to Throw Away

Sep 4, 2007
Food in our refrigerators becoming contaminated with mold is just a simple fact of life. It is fairly inevitable, no matter how clean you try to keep your refrigerator, but which foods do you throw away?

It grows on everything that we eat and a few things that we do not, but when we find it in our refrigerators; we often end up arguing with ourselves over whether or not it will still be safe to eat if we remove the molded portions. The fact is that most foods, when they become contaminated with mold, cannot be saved. It can be a jar of our favorite jam or the sour cream you love to put on top of tacos, but if it gets mold on it, you might as well just toss it. Go buy another container and save yourself the trouble of a doctor visit later.

The reason that you need to throw most items away is that foods that have a high amount of moisture in them such as sour cream, cottage cheese, jellies, and jams, will become contaminated all the way through them because they are soft foods. The mold can easily get to the rest of the container, unlike in more dense items like blocks of cheese or in dense meats like hard salami. If mold gets onto these more dense items, you can generally cut out the moldy parts and just throw them away. As long as you cut one inch around and underneath the molded part of the food and throw it in the garbage, the rest of the item should be fine to eat.

When you bring home fruits and vegetables, make sure that they are clean and have no bad spots on them. If they do, make sure and cut them off before storing them in your refrigerator. Some fruits and vegetables will be fine when stored in plastic, but the use of re-sealable plastic bags is recommended over simple plastic wrap. Throw away any fruit or vegetables that have become contaminated, since this will cause other items nearby to become contaminated, as well.

Anything that has been baked such as cakes or breads should be thrown away if you find mold growing on them. These foods are porous and the mold is likely to have contaminated the majority of it.

Lunch meats should also be thrown away if they are found to be contaminated. These have high moisture content and cannot be saved.
About the Author
Jim Corkern is a writer and promoter of quality
Water Damage companies and
Dallas Residential Water Damage Restoration Contractors
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