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Shelf Talk

Is It OK To Eat Cheese That Has Mold On It?

If a piece of cheese has mold growing on it, do you have to throw all of the cheese away? It's a common question and the answer depends on the type of cheese. Based on guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, here's a rundown on the cheeses you can keep (and those you should toss) when mold appears.

(1) Hard and semisoft cheeses sold in chunks or blocks
Examples: Cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, Colby, Gouda, Asiago, Edam, Brick, Havarti, Jarlsberg

Safe to eat when mold appears? Yes

Cut away at least 1 inch around and below the moldy area (do not touch mold with the knife) and re-cover the cheese in fresh wrap.

It’s safe to eat hard and semisoft cheeses that have mold on them — after first cutting away the moldbecause the mold cannot penetrate too deeply into the cheese.

(2) Packaged shredded, sliced or crumbled cheese any type

Safe to eat when mold appears? No

The entire package should be discarded.

It is not safe to eat shredded, sliced or crumbled cheese of any type including hard or semisoft that has become moldy. The mold could have easily spread throughout the entire package of cheese, even if doesn’t appear obvious. 

(3) Soft cheeses
Examples: Cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese

Safe to eat when mold appears? No

It is not safe to soft cheeses that have developed mold, as the mold can readily spread below the surface of these cheeses.

Some soft cheeses, like Camembert and Brie, have a rind that contains a type of mold that is not harmful and is safe to eat. But if additional mold develops on these types of soft cheeses (in other words, mold that was not a normal part of the manufacturing process) you should discard them entirely.



See also:

Can You Freeze Cheese Successfully?

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