Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Moldy Cheese - Is it safe to eat?
I found a sweet package of Wisconsin Cheddar in the back of my unorganized fridge today. The expiration date was July 5th and mold was beginning to grow. I tossed it but decided to google moldy cheese and see if saving it would have been safe... this is what I found.
The answer depends on the type of cheese. Most molds are harmless. Molds are even used to make some kinds of cheese, such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, brie and Camembert. These molds are safe to eat.
But mold on cheese that's not part of the manufacturing process can also harbor harmful bacteria. With hard and semisoft cheese, you can cut away the moldy part and eat the rest of the cheese. But soft cheeses should be discarded.
Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, Romano, Gruyere Safe to eat if the mold is removed. Cut off at least one inch around and below the mold spot. Keep the knife out of the mold itself so that it doesn't cross-contaminate other parts of the cheese. Cover the cheese in fresh wrap.
American, Asiago, baby Swiss, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, Muenster, Gorgonzola Safe to eat if the mold is removed. Cut off at least one inch around and below the mold spot. Keep the knife out of the mold itself so that it doesn't cross-contaminate other parts of the cheese. Cover the cheese in fresh wrap.
Brie, blue cheese, Camembert, cottage cheese, Neufchatel, feta, ricotta, shredded and sliced cheeses Discard the cheese.
To prevent mold growth on cheese always keep your cheese covered and refrigerated!
(never allowing it to sit at room temperature for longer than two hours) and try to follow the manufacturers expiration date.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2006