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Asking for a Friend… What Happens If You Eat Moldy Bread?

Can you eat moldy cheese, as long as you remove the moldy parts? Here's what a registered dietitian wants you to know.

Written by
Tehrene Firman

We've all had that "should I or should I not?" moment while staring at a piece of bread that has an itty-bitty piece of mold on it. It would be so easy to just tear off the bad part and enjoy the rest, saving money and keeping food waste out of the landfill. But then the reality hits: What happens if you eat moldy bread? Even by accident?

A little bit of mold on a piece of bread might not seem like a huge deal. Unfortunately, Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, an inclusive plant-based dietitian and owner of Master the Media in Stamford, CT, says it's not worth the risk when it comes to your health. Here's everything you should know before taking a bite.

Can You Eat Moldy Bread?

According to Gorin, no, you can't eat moldy bready—it's just too risky. That goes for eating both the visibly moldy parts (no thank you!) and the seemingly harmless parts of the bread that appear to be mold-free.

"For some foods, such as hard cheeses, you can cut away the mold part. But because bread is a softer food, and the mold’s roots are more easily able to penetrate into the rest of the food, I don’t recommend this," Gorin says. "Mold can be dangerous for your health."

What Happens If You Eat Moldy Bread?

Okay, so you know you shouldn't do it—but what happens if you eat moldy bread? The issue with mold is that all mold isn't the same. Some types are super dangerous, while others are fairly harmless. But there's no way of fully knowing which is which when you're playing detective in your own kitchen.

"There are many different types of mold out there. Some molds simply cause foods to spoil and don’t make you sick, while other molds can make you sick simply from breathing them in," Gorin says. "Because it’s impossible to know what type of mold is growing on your bread without doing a scientific investigation, it’s safest to discard of it."

Gorin says your best bet is disposing of any moldy items. Also, make sure that the mold hasn't spread to other items around it.

How to Store Bread So It Lasts Longer

So, you know you can't eat moldy bread. The good news is there's a way to ensure your next loaf stays mold-free for longer.

Many people store their bread on the kitchen counter or on top of the fridge. Some people even put their bread in the fridge. But the place bread is going to last the longest is in a cool, dry environment, as mold thrives in moist, warm locations.

Because of that, sitting on top of the fridge is a no-go—it's too warm. Instead, putting it in a bread box or an airtight container is what's most recommended by experts. Gorin says putting it in the refrigerator can also make it last longer, as it provides a stable temperature. "They can be stored this way for one to two weeks," she says.

With proper storage methods, your bread will stay mold-free for longer. Something that keeps your wallet, your health, and the planet healthy.