Why Is Blue Cheese Mold Safe To Eat?

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

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

These fluffy, white, green, black, blue, or grey mould 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 flavour 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 mould that gives it its distinctive flavour, aroma, and colour. Penicillium does not create toxins and is safe for consumption, in contrast to other species of mould.

Why is mould on cheese safe?

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 mouldy cheese manufactured from cow, sheep, or goat milk and fermented with cultures of the mould 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 mouldy 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 mould Penicillium, which gives it its unique look, feel, flavour, and aroma. Blue cheese is safe to consume because the acidity, salt, and moisture of the cheese stop the mould from creating mycotoxins and aflatoxins, two toxic substances that are detrimental to people.

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

Some moulds 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 moulds, 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 moulds.

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

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

Is the blue cheese mould alive?

Even if blue cheese is frequently used as a topping on your favourite 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 moulds 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 practise of poking needles into the cheese to ensure the mould 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 moulds 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 mould 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 mould 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.

How safe is blue mould?

In most cases, blue mould or bluish-green mould in the home is either Penicillium or Aspergillus. They have some of the most rapid growth rates (often between 24 and 48 hours) and need very little moisture to establish their colonies.

Penicillium should sound familiar if it does. It is the same kind of mould that is used to produce penicillin, an antibiotic. Penicillium has over 300 different species, and while it is used in medicine, most people don’t know much about it.

Blue mould can grow on household items including wallpaper, drywall, insulation, and carpets that have been harmed by water in addition to on food, particularly breads and citrous fruits. Additionally, it can be detected on flooded furniture like couch cushions and mattresses.

Aspergillus is the other typical form of blue mould. Aspergillus typically develops on dead leaves and vegetation. This kind of mould is present practically everywhere, but unless you have a compromised immune system or a lung condition, you are unlikely to become ill from it. Aspergillosis is the name of the Aspergillus-related illness that is most prevalent. People with cancer, leukaemia, AIDS, a weakened immune system, or those who have undergone chemotherapy treatments are typically individuals who are most vulnerable to this illness. If aspergillosis invades your lungs, it can quickly move to your brain or kidneys, posing a serious threat to your life.

Although the colour of a mould does not necessarily indicate a particular health risk, some Penicillium and Aspergillus species are known to contain toxic substances, known as mycotoxins, that can be detrimental to both humans and animals. Because of this, any blue or blue-green mould should be regarded as posing a health concern. You should stay away from items like compost dumps, dead vegetation, and grain storage facilities, which frequently have mould, if your immune system is already impaired in any way.

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 occuring limestone caves like those in Roquefort, France, where there were a lot of mould spores in the air. It has long been understood that some cheeses require ageing in order to acquire the right flavour. Roquefort cheese manufacturers began keeping their cheese in the shady limestone caverns. Later, a batch of cheese was tainted with a blue mould. Someone with a taste for adventure enjoyed the flavour. 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 ageing, the curds are sprayed with a suspension of Penicillium roqueforti to create Roquefort cheese. The cheese must be permeable since this mould 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 mould is to blame.

Of course, the thought of eating mouldy food is not appealing. However, there are numerous types of mould. 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 mould. 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 mould 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 mould 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 mouldy cheeses, of course. Penicillium camamberti, which coats camembert, releases enzymes that give the cheese its distinctive flavour. No issues either here. Not all risk exists in the fuzzy world. If there is anything about mouldy cheese you should be concerned about, it’s the fat content.

Can you just clip the cheese mould off?

Cheddar, Colby, Parmesan, and Swiss are examples of hard and semisoft cheeses that are often resistant to mould growth. So you can remove the mouldy area and consume the remaining cheese. Remove a minimum of 1 inch (2.5 cm) of material above and below the mouldy area.

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 mould 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.

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 ageing 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.

Does the blue cheese mould include penicillin?

The fungus Penicillium chrysogenum is used to produce the antibiotic penicillin. The blue veins of Stilton and the majority of other blue cheeses are produced by the Penicillium mould, although they use a different strain (P. roqueforti) and the entire mould rather than the penicillin extract.

There are people who are allergic to both the drug and the cheese, but it is also conceivable to be allergic to the drug and still be able to consume the cheese without consequence. It’s also important to note that only 20% of persons who believe they have a penicillin allergy actually do.