Finding mold in something that we thought we would eat is something very unpleasant that immediately takes away the desire to eat the food is a matter. However, on the other hand, we are sorry to throw it away and we wonder if, by removing the affected part, we can take advantage of part of the food. This is something very common in fruit , where mold manifests itself on the outside of it.
In the case of fruit, the experts agree, and that is that, if we observe mold in a piece, no matter how small it may be and, although we do not see visible signs of mold inside it, under the skin, the recommendation is to get rid of the whole piece . Let’s see what are the reasons why it is not advisable to try to save a piece of fruit with mold.
Molds are microscopic fungi that, when they grow, we can see them in the form of very fine hairs of different shades, such as white, gray, greenish, etc. However, before these fungi are perceptible to the human eye, it is likely that they are already present, since the fungi spread through the food through roots known as hyphae, which penetrate throughout the food.
Therefore, even if we see mold only in a superficial part of the food, its hyphae will have penetrated much more deeply. In addition, these hyphae penetrate more easily and more quickly in soft foods and with a lot of water, such as fruits, especially those with a softer and liquid consistency, such as oranges, which are very prone to being colonized by mold. In fact, mold tends to break down these foods very quickly. What’s more, if we decide to remove the mold from the fruit and eat the rest, we would notice an unpleasant taste that will surely take away the desire to continue eating.
What if the fruit is hard?
If the fruit is hard, it is not advisable to cut a piece and eat it either, for the same reasons we explained above. In the case of, for example, apples and strawberries, the mold will take more days to colonize the fruits, but, since they are foods very rich in water, it is best to throw whole fruit.
In the case of other hard foods, such as carrots, sausages, aged cheeses … you could remove part of the food by cutting at least two centimeters around the visible mold , but the safest thing is to always discard the food. In fact, if the fruit is stored together with other fruits, it would be necessary to check all of them to verify that there are no more affected fruits and even change the container in which they are stored to nip the spread of fungi.
What if I eat the rest?
If we eat a fruit with some part infected by fungi, its unpleasant taste may prevent us from finishing it whole. If not, and we ate it whole without knowing that it is colonized by fungi, the normal thing is that nothing serious happens to you. If we have a weakened immune system, we may have a digestive problem – stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea -, headache or respiratory problems . Only in case of being allergic could it cause us more serious reactions.
Even so, it is not necessary to relax and avoid contact with fungi -both oral and respiratory route- as much as possible, as some contain what are known mycotoxins, substances that can be very dangerous to health in the long term. As noted in AESAN (Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition , “some mycotoxins can cause various adverse effects such as cancer inductionand mutagenicity, as well as problems in the metabolism of estrogens, gastrointestinal or in the kidney. Some mycotoxins are also immunosuppressive, reducing resistance to infectious diseases. There are mycotoxins that produce these toxicological effects due to long-term exposure to them and others that also present acute effects (mainly gastrointestinal) ”.
Mold on the walls, when is it dangerous to health?
To avoid or delay the appearance of mold on the fruit, we must pay, above all, attention to conservation.
• If we are going to take time to consume them, buy the greenest fruits.
• Always choose the ones with the smoothest and firmer skin and discard the ones with the slightest bump.
• If you are not going to eat them for the next two or three days, put them in the fridge, as the growth of mushrooms is slower at low temperatures.
• Keep fruits away from sources of humidity , keep them in cool places – below 24 degrees – and dry, better dark.
• Do not store the fruit in places close to the floor, the ceiling , and better if the wall of the room in which we store them is not a wet room, such as a bathroom.
• Do not pile the fruit, let there be a minimum space between one fruit and another.
• Disinfect and clean the area where you keep the fruit often.
• If a moldy fruit appears, check the others and disinfect the area.
• When you throw away a moldy piece, wrap it in paper or plastic so that its spores do not spread.