Can You Still Eat Bread With Mold On It?

Here's why you shouldn't.

IMAGE Shutterstock

Admit it. You probably picked off a small spot of mold from a bread slice and toasted it anyway. You ate it without any ill effects. No harm done, right?  

You might have been lucky. That's because not all mold are harmless, mold does not grow only on the surface, and some might be hiding bacteria that might make you sick. 

So, is it safe to eat moldy bread? 

The short answer is no. For food safety reasons, it's best to toss bread out that has visible mold on it. Can you eat bread with mold? You can but the safe answer is to not do it.

Want to know more? Here's what you should know about bread and those small spots of mold: 

1 Bread mold is on the inside, too.   

Mold is a type of microorganism called a fungus that thrives in moist conditions. It can grow on organic matter such as wood, plants, trees, and even animal matter. It looks furry to the naked eye but under a microscope, it looks like little mushrooms, which are also a kind of fungus.

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Mold doesn't just grow on the surface. In fact, it grows like a plant would, complete with a root system that buries itself deep into the earth before its leaves sprout up and above the soil.

This is the same with mold on bread. You see the small spots of mold on the bread's surface but what you don't see is the root system that developed before the mold became visible to the eye. 

You may see mold but what you don't see is what can make you sick.
Photo by Shutterstock
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2 Bread will develop mold eventually.   

The spores are on the tops of the mold which are released into the air. Think of it as like pollen. It's very small and can be in the air that you're breathing. That's how mold comes into contact with food such as bread. This is why when you see mold, never give it a sniff. You're likely to inhale the spores that may enter your lungs and cause a reaction. 

To avoid it, you should store bread tightly wrapped. You can also store it in the refrigerator or even the freezer, tightly wrapper, but it will become stale quicker. This is why fresh bread is best eaten soon after it's baked.

3 Bread mold is not like other kinds of mold on food. 

Just like mushrooms, there are many kinds of mold: some may be harmless, some may be poisonous, and some may even be beneficial. Button mushrooms are delicious. The mold on cheese is delicious and highly coveted in some cheese. These are cultivated in highly controlled environments though. Yeast, which is what makes many bread dough rise, is a fungus, too.

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However, unlike edible mushrooms, yeast, and cheese mold, the mold on your bread might not be safe to eat even when heated. That's because the mold that you see may also have bacteria growing with it or develop a toxin that may make you sick

The next time you see mold on bread, you might want to think twice about removing just the moldy parts and eating it anyway. 

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