Would you eat mouldy bread?
Have things changed over the last 60 years so much that we are completely terrified of eating foods that show signs of deacay, such as mouldy bread? If we consider great times of hardship, such as wars and natural disasters, people immediately appreciate that access to food and water is not guaranteed. When food becomes scarce, no one would consider wasting food if it displayed early signs of mould, especially on bread. In our current society, many individuals would immediately throw a full sliced loaf of bread in the bin if they noticed a piece had some mould on it. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether the mould poses a danger to our health.
Mould and associated bacteria needs moisture to multiply. If bread has small patches of white and blue mould, it does not penetrate far below the surface. Actively growing mould does release into food. For the type of mould described on bread, it should be ok to cut it out, remove it and then toast it (above 60 degrees Celsius). If the bread has black mouldy spots on it, it should definitely be thrown away. Similarly, if you have a hard cheese, due to the lack of moisture, as long as your knife does not touch the mould, it should be safe to cut away the infected area and consume the rest. Any dairy products like soft cheese, yoghurt and dips have low acid and where the greatest care needs to be taken.
It is estimated that the Australian population wastes approximately 5 million tonnes of food each year, which is equivalent to filling a large sporting stadium to the top. While much of this food is beyond its registered best before date, does our society really understand at what point food is unsafe to consume. A more targeted campaign should be driven to inform the majority of the population.
In Australian society today, there are strict food safety standards in place to consider and control potential food hazards. Food handlers are required to complete courses that ensure they understand basic food hygiene practices. A more advanced food safety supervisor course then provides people with information on how to manage food safety plans in their businesses.