Is it dangerous to eat moldy bread? Get the scoop on moldy bread – and whether it’s safe to eat – before you get sick.
Hunger strikes and you open the refrigerator – eager to make a sandwich. Mustard in hand, you reach for the bag of bread, and peek inside. Much to your dismay the bread is moldy. Hunger wins out, and you decide to eat it anyway. Smart or not? Is it dangerous to eat moldy bread?
Is It Dangerous to Eat Moldy Bread: What is Mold?
Mold are fungi, multi-cellular organisms that are too small to see. These fungi produce spores which not only give them color but allow them to be spread by the wind to distant locations.
When you see mold growing on a piece of bread, it looks like tiny green or gray dots or gray “fur” on the surface of the bread. Not very appetizing to say the least. But some people try to scrape it off and eat the bread anyway – despite its unappetizing appearance.
The Problem of Moldy Bread
Not all molds are harmful but unless you’re a mycologist or have access to a laboratory for testing, you don’t know whether the mold on your bread is toxic or not. Some mold produce harmful toxins called mycotoxins that cause serious illness, while others will simply make you sick to your stomach.
Many people are allergic to mold and develop watery eyes, throat tightness or difficulty breathing if they inhale the spores – and people with asthma can develop an asthma attack. People who are mold sensitive should never “sniff” a moldy food when deciding whether to eat it.
Ditch the Moldy Bread
Don’t take your chance with moldy bread. It’s unlikely you’ll die from eating it, but you can become ill. Even if you only see a small area of mold on a piece of bread, don’t try to scrape it off. The toxins may have spread deeper beneath the surface and into other areas of the bread.
Reducing Mold on Bread
Bread that contains no preservatives gets moldy quickly, so only buy it in small quantities if you can’t use it right away. You can always freeze half the loaf until you need it. Keep the rest in a well-sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry place. Fungi love to multiply in warm, humid climates. Don’t give them a chance.
Is It Dangerous to Eat Moldy Bread: The Bottom Line?
It probably won’t kill you, but it could make you ill. Don’t do it.
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. “Molds on Food: Are They Dangerous?”