Why Can You Eat Blue Cheese Mold?

A form of cheese known as “blue cheese” is produced using Penicillium mold cultures.

Mycotoxins, which are produced by specific species of mold and are thought to be poisonous to humans (1).

These fluffy, white, green, black, blue, or grey mold spores are commonly found on meals that have spoiled (2).

In contrast, the Penicillium kinds used to make blue cheese don’t contain toxins and are approved for human consumption (3).

After the curds have been drained and formed into wheels, Penicillium is added during the cheese-making process. After then, the blue cheese is allowed to mature for 23 months before being served.

The distinctive flavor and aroma of blue cheese, as well as its distinctive blue and green veins and dots, are all attributed to penicillium (4).

Blue cheese is produced with Penicillium, a species of mold that gives it its distinctive flavor, aroma, and color. Penicillium does not create toxins and is safe for consumption, in contrast to other species of mold.

Why is edible cheese mold?

Molds belonging to the genus Penicillium are used to make a variety of cheeses, including blue cheese, Gorgonzola, brie, and Camembert ( 2 , 7 ). Due to their inability to create dangerous mycotoxins, the strains employed to make these cheeses are safe to consume.

Blue cheese is it harmful?

The term “blue cheese” refers to a moldy cheese manufactured from cow, sheep, or goat milk and fermented with cultures of the mold Penicillium, a genus of fungi that is commonly found in nature and is responsible for food spoilage.

You’ve come to the correct place if you’ve ever wondered why some moldy items, like blue cheese, are okay to eat but not others. Since the first time I tried Roquefort, which my father brought back from a business trip to France when I was a young child, I’ve been a fan of blue cheese.

Here is my opinion on the subject, which is based on years of consuming blue cheese and extensive research on cheeses in general.

Blue cheese is an aged cheese that has been cultivated with the mold Penicillium, which gives it its unique look, feel, flavor, and aroma. Blue cheese is safe to consume because the acidity, salt, and moisture of the cheese stop the mold from creating mycotoxins and aflatoxins, two toxic substances that are detrimental to people.

Because mold is frequently a symptom of spoiled food, the majority of us actively avoid eating it. But not all molds are the same when it comes to food safety.

Some molds create the two poisons known as mycotoxins and aflatoxins, which make them harmful to human health. Mycotoxins, which are typically present in nuts, corn, rice, and dried fruits, were examined in 2014 and were shown to “pose a serious health risk to human health.”

Mycotoxins can have an impact on your immune system, weaken it, and possibly cause cancer. Aflatoxins, on the other hand, are toxic, mutagenic, and carcinogenic toxins that have been linked to the development of cancer.

Other molds, such as Penicillium camemberti, which produces German Cambonzola, Penicillium glaucum, which produces French Bleu d’Auvergne, Danish Blue, and English Stilton cheese, and Penicillium roqueforti, which produces French Roquefort, Danish Blue, and English Stilton cheese, are safe because they don’t produce mycotoxins or aflatoxins when they culture cheese.

Artisan cheesemaker Yoav Perry says in a Quora discussion that “the mix of acidity, salinity, moisture, density, temperature, and oxygen flow creates an environment that is far outside the envelope of toxin producing range for these molds.

In fact, since practically all cheese molds fall under this category, cheese has long been regarded as a safe moldy product to consume.

There you go, people. Inside blue cheese, penicillium mold proliferates and spreads. The mold can’t generate the two toxins known to damage people, mycotoxins and aflatoxins, because of the unique circumstances for making and preserving the cheese.

Mold on blue cheese is acceptable, right?

It’s time to toss whatever it formerly was in the garbage if you notice gray veins with specks of blue mold and a brief odor of ammonia in most foods. However, when it comes to blue cheese, these symptoms indicate that it’s time to break out the crackers and start munching.

Yes, mold is used to make blue cheese. Although this particular mold is not only safe for human eating but may even be healthful, some individuals find this worrying (some even go as far as to say it tastes like feet). Here is the history and science of delectable moldy cheese, from Roquefort to Cambozola.

Where did blue cheese originate?

The prevailing myth about the discovery of blue cheese centers on a fortunate incident. A shepherd is said to have eaten rye bread and sheep’s milk cheese while tending to his flock in a cave over a thousand years ago in the Rouergue region of southern France. But before he could bite down, the sheep startled and bolted. He left his lunch behind and pursued them. Months later, when he went back to the cave, he discovered that nothing had happened to his old lunch save for a thick coating of mold that had grown on top. The shepherd took a nibble, maybe out of curiosity or sheer hunger.

Is the blue cheese mold alive?

Even if blue cheese is frequently used as a topping on your favorite salad or burger, chances are that you don’t fully comprehend the cheese’s complex biochemistry. We’re here to sift through the enigma surrounding blue cheese and uncover some amusing facts that you may share with guests while enjoying wine and a sophisticated cheese board.

What is that blue mold, really?

Penicillium Roqueforti and Penicillium Glaucum, to keep it simple. The lengthy response: They are blue molds that are safe to eat and only grow in a narrow range of acidity and temperature. Since it is living, it requires food, oxygen, and moisture to survive, and cheese offers all three. Blue cheese’s distinctive veiny appearance is a result of the early-stage cheese-making practice of poking needles into the cheese to ensure the mold receives enough oxygen.

So, what do these molds do?

See if you can use these amusing words in everyday speech. Let’s start by discussing proteolysis. The proteins in the cheese are gradually broken down by these blue molds as it ages and ripens, which is why blue cheese is so smooth and creamy. Then comes lipolysis, which is when these helpful fungus break down the cheese’s lipids, giving it its distinctively sour sharpness. These cheeses’ unique aromas and textures are a result of the mold and the type of milk used to make them.

But, isn’t mold bad for me?

Because it never thrives in environments where it can produce toxins, the blue mold that forms the cheeses isn’t toxic, but be aware of these warning flags. It’s time to throw away your blue cheese if it begins to smell strongly of acetone or ammonia (think cleaning supplies). Another sign that something has outstayed its welcome in your fridge is if it begins to get slimy and sticky or turns pink or brown.

OK, so, how do I use it?

If you enjoy blue cheese, this portion will be simple because it can be used in a variety of dishes. Place it atop a pizza. Add some crumbles to a salad. Add a zesty edge to nachos. To make a cheese puff, bake it. Prepare a few elegant snacks. There are countless options.

Does blue cheese cause cancer?

Is it accurate to say that eating blue cheese makes you sick? One of our correspondents inquired about this. Thankfully, the response is no. But I believe I understand how this tale began. Moldy cheese is called blue cheese. It originally became that way because it was kept in naturally occurring limestone caves like those in Roquefort, France, where there were a lot of mold spores in the air. It has long been understood that some cheeses require aging in order to acquire the right flavor. Roquefort cheese manufacturers began keeping their cheese in the shady limestone caverns. Later, a batch of cheese was tainted with a blue mold. Someone with a taste for adventure enjoyed the flavor. Others decided to do it after learning that he had survived the ordeal. It quickly rose to the top of the cheese food chain in France.

Today Before aging, the curds are sprayed with a suspension of Penicillium roqueforti to create Roquefort cheese. The cheese must be permeable since this mold need oxygen to survive. To allow more oxygen to enter, stainless steel needles are typically used to penetrate the cheese. This method used to be done using copper needles, which certainly contributed to the myth that the cheese’s blue hue was the result of copper addition. No, the mold is to blame.

Of course, the thought of eating moldy food is not appealing. However, there are numerous types of mold. Some are risky, while others are secure. People often have unwarranted concerns about eating blue cheese after hearing horror stories about the harmful effects of mycotoxins, which are toxic substances generated by mold. Like the incident involving the Alberta teenager who required an immediate liver transplant after consuming homemade rhubarb wine tainted with rubratoxin B. Alternatively, that a mold that develops on sugar cane can create 3-nitropropionic acid, which can result in convulsions and coma. Or that hundreds of people in Russia who had consumed wheat tainted with trichothecenes from the Fusaria mould perished after the war. Or that among of the most dangerous cancer-causing substances are aflatoxins, which are made by a mold that can grow on corn or peanuts.

Therefore, it makes sense that those who have heard about these stories experience nausea when presented with blue cheese. But do not worry. Toxin production by Penicillium roqueforti is nonexistent. However, it does create some tasty chemicals. There are other moldy cheeses, of course. Penicillium camamberti, which coats camembert, releases enzymes that give the cheese its distinctive flavor. No issues either here. Not all risk exists in the fuzzy world. If there is anything about moldy cheese you should be concerned about, it’s the fat content.

Does blue cheese help your digestion?

Nutrient-dense blue cheese offers a number of noteworthy health advantages. For instance, blue cheese, especially when compared to other forms of cheese, delivers significant calcium content. One ounce of blue cheese has 150 mg of calcium in it. While the daily requirement for calcium depends on factors including age and sex, most individuals should get at least 1,000 mg each day.

Additional advantages of eating blue cheese include:

Blue cheese can help people develop healthier bone density due to its high calcium content. Consuming calcium-rich foods on a daily basis, like blue cheese, maintains bone health and lowers the risk of osteoporosis over time.

Blue cheese’s calcium may also be connected to systems that fight obesity and lower body fat levels. Consuming blue cheese has been linked to lower levels of visceral fat in the abdominal region and improved gut health, according to studies. Higher mortality rates have been linked to excess visceral fat levels.

Spermidine, a substance found in blue cheese, may slow aging and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe that spermidine has a beneficial impact on cardiac muscle cells and other components of the cardiovascular system, despite the fact that the precise cause of this effect is still unknown. The “French paradox,” in which fewer people die of cardiovascular disease in France despite ingesting, on average, more saturated fat, may be explained by the presence of spermidine in blue cheese.

Blue cheese contains penicillin.

The primary Penicilliums used to make cheese

No penicillin is produced by roqueforti (blue cheese), camemberti (Camembert and Brie), or glaucum (Gorgonzola). They do create human poisons and allergens, as well as other antibacterial metabolites, but no medically effective antibiotics.

Is maggots used to make blue cheese?

Real Gorgonzola is still only produced in 3,000 farms spread across a lush region between Piedmont and Lombardy, where it is offered in blue-and-white packaging with a huge “G. The cheese is no longer Gorgonzola if it is produced outside of that region, much like bubbly produced outside of Champagne, France, is just sparkling wine. Pasteurized cow’s milk, lactic ferment, rennet, and penicillium are the only essential ingredients.

There are now methods to recreate the lucky error made by the dairy worker: By puncturing the cheese with large metal needles and allowing air to enter, which reacts with the penicillium, the blue-veined mold is created. If you do happen to glimpse a worm, the cheese is either false or rotting because there are no longer any maggots.

Along with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano, Gorgonzola is one of Italy’s king cheeses. It has an annual turnover of 550 million euros, and 34% of its output is exported. It has transformed from a common dish to a Michelin-starred delicacy that is added to everything from risotto and gnocchi to sausages. Even has a representative: Chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo, who prepares opulent Gorgonzola dishes at Villa Crespi’s two Michelin-starred Novara restaurant.

The central piazza of the titular town hosts an annual Gorgonzola festival that draws devotees from all over the world. Greedy tourists are fed by giant pots of sizzling Gorgonzola combined with red beets and blue Curaao. The air is filled with smells, yet the aroma of the cheese is no longer regarded as a stench but as a lovely aroma that the Italians are proud of.

Why does blue cheese have a nauseating flavor?

As much as Tonya Schoenfuss enjoys a good blue cheese, she is fairly certain that some individuals, particularly those so-called supertasters who are sensitive to certain flavors, will never be able to get past what she will refer to as the vomit factor. You may have heard that while the majority of us can slather pico de gallo onto salty tortilla chips all day, a small number of people taste freshly chopped cilantro and only taste soap. According to Schoenfuss, who has a Ph.D. in dairy science and works at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, some people don’t enjoy blue cheese. “The butyric acid is nauseating. One of the carboxylic acids is butyric acid, an oily, colorless liquid that can be found in blue cheese and rotten butter. Schoenfuss has written studies on salt reduction for blue cheese and flavor enhancers, but she doesn’t know if anyone has looked into supertasters with blues. She believes that blue cheese is unpleasant by nature and that certain people will never learn to appreciate it, much like oysters.

Blue cheese’s flavors and fragrances, like those of other cheeses, are produced by the decomposition of milk lipids. However, the metabolism of blue mold also breaks down fatty acids further to produce chemical substances known as ketones, particularly one called 2-Pentanone. Could it be the reason blue cheese has a poor reputation? According to a number of the experts we spoke with (including Schoenfuss), many people who reject mold-filled cheese may have had little exposure to the wide range of blue cheeses available and possibly had a bad first experience with a blue that was simply too potent.

The piquancy can be overwhelming, according to Rogue Creamery President David Gremmels. According to Gremmels, who has assisted in leading the business since 2002, “I also find that most consumers are turned off by the acidity, metallic undertones, and unappealing texture caused by homogeneity and uniformity in commodity blue cheeses. Gremmels claims he has seen numerous individuals, both inside and outside of the cheese industry, who claim they do not enjoy blues. With a Rogue cheese that has been cold smoked over hazelnut shells, he has his own problem. I inquire whether they would be interested in trying a cheese I made for my close friend Keziah Baird, who used to detest blue cheese but whom I have since won over. “I offer them a tiny crumble of Smokey Blue to taste. They are won over to the blue side at least 95% of the time! One of my personal all-time favorite wheels is Rogue Smokey Blue. Smokey Blue has a flavor similar to the tastiest smoked salmon you’ve ever experienced, unlike certain smoked cheeses that can smell like a factory fire.

Fitzgerald concurs that a lack of experience may be the cause of blue reluctance. She explains, “It suggests that someone hasn’t truly investigated it in a cheese shop. “Perhaps they are accustomed to purchasing crumbled or Danish blue from the grocery shop. Once people experience a genuine handmade blue cheese product, everything changes. Gremmels believes that rather than 30%, the percentage of people who are turned off by blue cheese is likely to be closer to 2 or 3%.