Do you eat the moldy stuff?

My husband and I have battled continuously for years about whether scraping the mold off the top of — well, anything — makes it OK to eat, or if once a spot of green invades the top of a barely used jar of jam we’ve got to call it a loss and toss it out. I’m always willing to scrape off the top, cut off the moldy crusts, etc., and carry on with the meal. My husband, not so much.

Well, turns out the USDA has weighed in on the argument with interesting findings. My favorite part of the Safe Food Handling fact sheets is this chart on how to handle moldy foods (very, very carefully is not one of the answers):


An article on CNN takes it one step farther, suggesting that you shouldn’t eat the pizza you left out on the counter overnight (What? Even my husband finds this to be absurd). And I never would have thought about eating moldy sausage, hard or not.

In the end, experts and the USDA report both recommend throwing out most moldy foods. I admit, the idea of threads of mold weaving their way into the bottom of the container gives me a moment of pause; but if you read about what happens if you eat a slightly tainted dollop of sour cream, the most likely effect will be a stomach ache.

BlueCheese By jkuma.jpg

Sad mold and happy mold. (Photos by napalm nikki and jkuma, respectively)

I’ve had stomach aches from eating myriad meals over the years, made by friends, family, and fast food joints, so this news isn’t likely to change my habits. After all, we all know about the happy molds found in blue cheeses and on the outside of Bries and Camemberts. Now there’s some mold I can sink my teeth into.

Anyone out there have any experience working with molds in cheese-making, or have a gruesome tale that will cure me from my “just scrape it off” attitude? Tell me about in the Comments.


Sometimes helpful editor and digital media director at MAKE and CRAFT.

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