Is Moldy Cheese Safe to Eat?
According to the Mayo Clinic, some moldy cheeses are safe to eat after the mold has been sliced off, while others are toxic.
The answer depends on the type of cheese, says Mayo Clinic nutritionist, Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. "Molds are microscopic organisms that have thread-like roots that burrow into the foods they grow on," she says.
There are good molds and there are bad molds. Most molds are harmless and safe to eat (unless you are allergic to mold, of course). These molds are even used to make some kinds of cheese, including brie, roquefort, gorgonzola, and camembert. Some bad molds produce mycotoxins, which can make you sick.
With hard and semisoft cheese, such as parmesan, Swiss, romano and cheddar, you can cut away the moldy part and eat the rest of the cheese, says Zeratsky. "Keep the knife out of the mold itself so that it doesn't cross-contaminate other parts of the cheese," she warns. "Cut off at least one inch around and below the moldy spot."
With soft cheeses, such as brie, chevre, blue cheese and ricotta, however, the mold that grows cannot be safely removed so these cheeses should be discarded. The same goes for any cheese that has been shredded, crumbled or sliced.