Healthy Living

Is Moldy Cheese Still Safe For Consumption?

Molds are defined as the innumerable species of fungi found living on plants and animals. Molds have threadlike structures, sometimes looking like stalks coming out of the food and multiply into spores, which are easily visible to the naked eye, unlike other single-celled bacteria. 

Cheese has many varieties, both soft and hard. Though all cheeses are produced by curdling milk from dairy sources with the help of rennet, after which the liquid is strained out, there are a few differences. The rennet enzyme is nowadays obtained from genetically engineered bacteria and yeast to help the process of curdling.

Salt is then added, after which the cut pieces of curds are heated, and the clumps of casein are molded and later left to age. Some cheese need molds, while others don't. Bacteria is needed to absorb the proteins and sugars in the milk, which initiate the chemical changes to produce cheese. Some of the molds popularly utilized to make cheese are Penicillium (P.) roqueforti, P. glaucum, and P. candidum, according to Healthline.

Examples are blue variety of cheese, where one can see the characteristic blue veins on the cheeses such as Stilton, Gorgonzola and Roquefort. Another variety of cheese is brie, which has mold on its thick outer layer and soft interior. 

As per Healthline, soft-ripened cheeses such as Brie, St. André and Camembert are produced by blending the cheese with milk while it's being processed. 

There are some safety measures to be followed while eating cheese with mold, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Hard Cheese

Mold is not used to make hard cheese. It is usually present on the surface layer and one inch must be cut off below and around the mold with a knife. 

Ensure the knife is not used to contaminate the remaining areas of the cheese untouched by the mold. Once the mold is cut out, be sure to take out the rest of the cheese carefully with clean hands or a brand new wrap. Examples include Parmesan, Swiss, Cheddar and Colby cheese. 

Soft Cheese

Cottage cheese, cream cheese, Neufchatel, chevre and Bel paese need to be discarded. The technique of cutting around the mold can lead to further contamination since the knife can infect the cut pieces. Also, the high level of moisture present in soft cheese leads to the mold spreading beyond the surface.

Soft cheese should be discarded if they have molds, especially if it was not used as in ingredient during the process of manufacturing. If surface mold is found on hard cheese, it needs to be handled as mentioned above. 

If soft cheese is consumed it can cause food poisoning since molds contain harmful bacteria. These are E. coli, salmonella, listeria and brucella. Some molds also generate mycotoxins, which could potentially result in lowering immunity, severe food poisoning, and in extreme cases, cancer. 

Cheese Those with lactose intolerance will be able to digest fermented dairy products like cheese and yogurt more easily than milk. PxHere