If there’s one type of food you don’t want to eat, it’s food that’s gone moldy. But what are the best ways to tell if your food is moldy, and what are the side effects of eating moldy food?
Mold consists of microscopic fungi that have grown out of control, and even if you don’t see mold beyond the very top layer of food, that doesn’t mean it’s not there, as there’s always a “stem” that can reach all the way into the center. So if you see, for example, mold on top of your yogurt, don’t think that you can just scrape it off the top and keep eating it. Same with a loaf of bread. For hard foods, like cheese, you can actually just scrape the mold off (making sure to dig around it a little), and it’ll be safe to eat.
The best way to see if food is moldy is to use your eyes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises against sniffing mold, because the spores can cause respiratory trouble.
If you take a big bite of something only to discover that it’s gone moldy, don’t assume that you’re going to die. Unless you have a specific mold allergy, or the mold was an indicator of a bacterial infestation, you’ll probably be okay.