FoodThe hidden danger in your fruit bowl: How mold on strawberries can risk your health

The hidden danger in your fruit bowl: How mold on strawberries can risk your health

Strawberries (ADOBE)
Strawberries (ADOBE)

9:04 AM EST, January 15, 2024

Contrary to previous advice, we shouldn't abstain from strawberries entirely. The real culprits to avoid are those covered in mold or marked with odd spots. These signs of decay typically emerge due to high temperatures or incorrect storage. Some people might be tempted to just discard the spoiled parts and consume the rest, but this is a serious error.

Strawberries tainted by mold are unsafe and may cause diseases

Why exactly should we avoid moldy strawberries? The rationale is that simply removing the unpleasant part is insufficient. The mold secretes toxins that envelop the entire strawberry, posing considerable health hazards.

Mycotoxins, potentially cancer-inducing substances, can induce severe poisoning, fungal infections, various types of allergies, and hormonal changes. This raises the question: Are overly ripe strawberries still suitable for making jam or juice? If your response is affirmative, unfortunately, you're misled. Even heating to a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit won't eliminate the risk.

- warns Sylwia Panek, who manages the mama chemik profile on Instagram.

Strawberries - Deliciousness; Photo
Strawberries - Deliciousness; Photo

This dangerous mold often affects fruits with high-water content, such as watermelons, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and sour cherries. If you spot a few moldy pieces in a punnet, it's advisable to discard the entire batch, as it's likely all the fruit are contaminated with mycotoxins.

We must exercise caution when buying strawberries and avoid vendors who appear to be removing defective pieces. This could signal a high chance that the remaining fruits are contaminated as well, even if the mold isn’t overtly visible.

So, how can we keep our freshly picked strawberries mold-free? Storing them in the refrigerator for a few days is a good strategy. Remember, they will need to be eaten shortly after.

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