Mold in Grated Parmesan Cheese: Is it Safe to Eat?

If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, chances are you’ve used grated Parmesan cheese at some point. It’s a versatile cheese that adds flavor to pasta dishes, salads, and more.

But what happens when you open your container of grated Parmesan cheese and notice some mold growing on it? Is it still safe to eat? Let’s find out.

What causes mold to grow on Parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese is made from unpasteurized milk, which means it contains natural bacteria. When the cheese is aged, these bacteria help break down the proteins and develop the unique flavor of the cheese. However, sometimes other bacteria or fungi can also grow on the cheese, especially if it has been stored improperly.

Is mold in grated Parmesan cheese dangerous?

While moldy bread or fruits should be thrown away immediately as they can cause illness, moldy hard cheeses like Parmesan are usually safe to eat.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), hard cheeses such as Parmesan are safe to eat even if you spot some mold on them. The reason for this is that the high salt content and low moisture levels in hard cheeses create an environment where most molds cannot survive.

However, if you’re allergic to mold or have a weakened immune system due to illness or medication use, it’s best to avoid consuming any foods with visible signs of mold.

How can you tell if your grated Parmesan cheese has gone bad?

Although moldy grated Parmesan cheese is usually safe to eat, there are still signs that indicate when it has gone bad:

  • The texture becomes clumpy or grainy instead of powdery
  • The color changes from white or cream to yellow or brown
  • The cheese develops a strong, unpleasant odor

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw out the cheese.

How to prevent mold growth on grated Parmesan cheese?

To prevent mold from growing on your grated Parmesan cheese, follow these tips:

  • Store the cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator
  • Avoid touching the cheese with your hands as this can introduce bacteria and mold spores to it
  • Use a clean utensil to scoop out the desired amount of cheese
  • Don’t leave the container open for too long

In conclusion,

Moldy grated Parmesan cheese is usually safe to eat as long as you’re not allergic to mold or have a weakened immune system. However, if you notice any signs that indicate spoilage, it’s best to discard the cheese. To prevent mold from growing on your Parmesan cheese, store it properly and use a clean utensil when scooping out portions.

With these simple precautions, you can continue enjoying your favorite Italian dishes without worrying about the safety of your grated Parmesan cheese.