When they notice mold on their food, most people either throw the piece away or cut the part off and eat the remaining piece free of fungus. But, is this a healthy practice? The visible green part of the mold is made from spores which are responsible for the greenish color, but the fungus is hidden from plain sight.
The probability of ingesting fungus along the spores is high even if you cut off the infected part. You may also inhale the spores when you’re trying to cut off the moldy part.
Nadine Shaw is a specialist from the United States Department of Agriculture, who says that fungi that develop in food are harmless for our health. She used the moldy cheese types popular in Italy as an example.
However, not all fungi are harmless – some can cause allergic reaction, respiratory problems and may also produce mycotoxins such as aflatoxin which can cause liver cancer and harm your immune system.
According to an investigation conducted by the FDA, the fungus present in grains and nuts contain a higher level of mycotoxins. A fungus known as aspergillus which affects red and white meat can cause a condition known as aspergillosis which can cause severe lung infection, sinusitis and meningitis.
The best preventive measure is to get rid of the moldy piece of food instead of just a piece, especially if the food is cereal, grains or meat. The fungus on the food is a sign that the piece is stale and has been exposed to excess moisture which is why it should be avoided.