Some of us believed that eating the clean part of a moldy bread is okay (Hey it still looks fine, right?) but when it comes to molds and bread there is always more than meets the eye. Continue reading the article and find out the health risks mold pose to our body.
Every Saturday morning, we are excited to eat breakfast — coffee is hot and ready, a serving of sunny side up eggs and cheese are waiting. And just when you are ready to start your first meal of the day, you recognize a blue-green spot on your bread. You forgot that your bread’s shelf life has passed one week and molds are starting to grow.
You asked yourself: “Well, I guess I can still eat the clean part?”
The answer to this question is no. You can’t eat the clean part of a moldy bread. Since mold is a fungus, like mushrooms, caps on the surface are visible. However what we do not see is the vast network of roots (hyphae).
By the time mold starts to become visible, what we are really seeing is the mold reproductive part called sporangiums. Each sporangium releases thousand of spores. This means grabbing another slice of bread from the same loaf is not a good idea either.
But hey I heard we use mold when making soy sauce, beers, cheese and antibiotics. How can it be bad for our health?
Now this is generally true but just like mushrooms, there are many different species of mold. Some are harmless to eat but some are just plain deadly.
The Usual Suspects
Some mold specie like Cladosporium can cause allergies but is harmless. Aspergillus and Penicillium can both produce mycotoxin. The World Health Organization (WHO) mentioned in their website:
Pictured Above: Various Penicillium, Aspergillus spp. and other fungi growing in axenic culture
“Mycotoxins can cause a variety of adverse health effects and pose a serious health threat to both humans and livestock.” (1)
WHO also stated that the adverse health effects of mycotoxins range from acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer.
Finally, we have the Black Bread Mold (Rhizopus Stolonifer), now this one is a real bad boy. This mold specie is easy to recognize because of its blue-green color and fuzzy look. In rare cases, this mold can trigger Zygomycosis. This causes your blood to clot, depriving your cells of oxygen until they die.
Pictured Above: A close up look of a Black Bread Mold (Rhizopus Stolonifer).
In the end, eating the clean part of a moldy bread is a gamble. There are so many mold species that it is almost impossible to know if the mold on your bread is safe to eat. One thing is for sure — playing Russian roulette with the mold on your sourdough bread is never safe.