Is eating cheese with mold dangerous to health?
Mould is a controversial topic when it comes to cheese.
Many believe it to be a source of complex and refined flavours, while others are concerned about the possible presence of health-threatening microorganisms.
In this photo gallery, we explore the issue in depth, showing some of the most famous cheeses that contain mould and the differences between the different types.
We will also find out whether eating cheese with mould is really dangerous for your health by providing tips on how to consume it safely.
What is the mould?
Moulds are a type of fungus that produces spores, and tend to be green, white, black, blue or grey in colour. Moulds can grow in all types of food and proliferate best in warm, moist conditions. Harmful mould can cause food poisoning, immune deficiency and even cancer, due to the bacteria and mycotoxins it contains. When mould appears on food, it usually means it should be thrown away, but this is not always the case with cheese. (source: healthline)
Which cheeses are made with mould?
Moulds change the appearance and smell of food, producing a very strong, acidic odour. Certain types of mould are, for this very reason, used in cheese production to develop flavour and texture. Popular mould cheeses are Roquefort, Camembert, Humboldt Fog, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Brie and St. André.
Is mouldy cheese safe to eat?
Cheeses with mould are characterised by blue veins on the inside or a thick white rind on the outside. The moulds used to produce some varieties of cheese are, of course, not harmful. These moulds are different from those that appear over time on cheese bought without the mould: care must be taken to distinguish the types of mould, because harmful moulds can appear on any cheese and are similar in appearance.
When to throw away mouldy cheese
The appearance of mould does not necessarily mean that the cheese has to be thrown away. With hard cheeses, for example, it is sufficient to cut 2-3 cm around and under the mould to make sure that all mould is removed and that there is no danger. Soft cheeses, on the other hand, should be thrown away immediately because the texture of the cheese allows spores to penetrate the cheese and contaminate it.
Dangers of eating mouldy cheese
The main mould-borne bacteria are: E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and Brucella. These bacteria are very dangerous because they can cause food poisoning, with consequences such as vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, death.