The Colors of Food Mold
Have you ever found mold growing on your food and wondered if it was safe to eat? Have you questioned if you should keep some of the food if the mold wasn’t covering it all? In this article, we’ll go over the different colors of mold often found on food and answer these questions!
When we hear the word “mold” around food, we assume the green fuzzy fungi that appear on produce. This mold also develops on bread when we forget to eat it in time. Yet, while green and white are the typical colors found on food, there are many other colors of mold that can grow.
Homeowners are watching out for the infamous “toxic black mold” or Stachybotrys Chartarum. But, when it comes to black mold on food, there are plenty of non-toxic molds as well. The most common is Rhizopus Stolonifera, also known as black bread mold. As the name suggests, this mold is often found on bread. Other black molds appear on the rubber seal of the refrigerator. Should you find this mold on your appliance, it doesn’t mean you have black mold in your home. But, it is best to discard any food affected by the mold as well as wash the affected appliance.
Actual pink mold is often on bread and baked goods. Pink mold can cause respiratory infections. Additionally, it causes gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections. More often than not, when a pink appearance is present on food, it isn’t mold at all. Instead, it is bacteria growing and invading your food. In either case, it’s best to throw out any food with unwanted growth.
White molds may be in your purposefully or accidentally. Some white molds are grown on the outside of cheeses, such as bloomy rind cheese. Unfortunately, white mold is fuzzy and not safe to eat. It’s often growing on berries and other fruits and vegetables. This fuzzy mold means the plant has spoiled and is no longer suitable to eat.
White mold comes with a complicated dilemma. Many molds go through a phase of white before developing the spores that give the mold their actual color. What may appear white one day may turn red or blue the next. Unless the mold was purposefully grown on the food, assume it is toxic and discard it immediately.
This mold is the typical fuzzy green mold you find on your citrus fruits and breads. The most common of these species invading your pantry is Cladosporium. For people with mold allergies, the potent smell of this mold releases can be irritating. It may cause wheezing, coughing, or vomiting. For others without mold allergies, the look and smell are unpleasant. Cladosporium produces mycotoxins, which are dangerous to your health. Avoid touching the green molded foods. Wrap them in plastic when discarding to stop spores from spreading. Discarding foods nearby may also be a wise choice.
Orange molds are most slimy in texture and can have bacteria close by. This mold is often found near a lot of bacteria and can cause respiratory problems. Orange mold may grow on bread or cheeses but can be on wood as well. Eating food infected with orange mold is less dangerous than others. But, the risk of ingesting bacteria is very high.
There are various strains of red molds within the fungal kingdom. Yet, most red mold on food is a mold called Neurospora. Neurospora and other red molds themselves may not be toxic when ingested. But, there are plenty of molds that appear red or grow in proximity to red molds that could be toxigenic. It’s best to treat all red molds on foods with caution and avoid ingesting.
Most strains of blue mold are not harmful. Some blue molds classify as a member of the Penicillium family. This mold can produce a medicine called Penicillin. Blue molds on bread and those used to cultivate blue cheese are strains of Penicillium. Blue mold on bread is unsafe for consumption and indicates the food spoiled. The blue mold used in blue cheese lacks oxygen and is safe for consumption. But only when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The same strain of mold can produce mycotoxins when exposed to air.
We hope this article has shed light on what you may find growing on your food and how to handle it! Here at Mold Inspectors of Florida, we pride ourselves in over a decade of mold experience! We love helping our community by offering matchless quality in our inspections. If you suspect mold may be growing in your home and would like to know for sure, give us a call!