If a food in your pantry starts to grow a white hair or some part looks greenishBetter throw it away. Are molds. “There are different species, each with its own particularities. Some produce toxic compounds, such as mycotoxins, and others do not, “Miguel Ángel Lurueña, a doctor in food science and technology and author of the blog” Gummies of oil “, explains to ABC Salud. As at first glance we are not able to distinguish the good from the bad, as a general rule, in soft foods, such as strawberries or tomatoes, it is recommended discard the entire piece. It is not enough to cut the piece. “Molds are an organism that, like plants, can take root and go deeper than it seems,” explains the expert. The risk of consuming mycotoxins is not immediate or short-term. “The most serious is that some, if we consume them frequently, increase the risk of liver cancer in the long term. But not all molds produce mycotoxins and not all are carcinogenic, “he clarifies.
Although most of the food that has grown mold should be thrown away, there are three types that, according to the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), we can save if we remove the affected part: cured ham and sausages, hard cheeses, Manchego, emmental or gouda type (with a safety margin of two centimeters more around and below the moldy area); and firm meat vegetables, such as carrots, peppers and cabbage, in which the affected area must be removed and the same margin of 2 centimeters around. To control molds, you have to avoid storing food in hot, humid environments like plastic bags. When what appears is a brown stain on the fruit, but it is from a blow and it is eaten immediately, no problem. If it is due to the deterioration of the piece due to the passage of time or a poor conservation, better to discard. “These areas are more susceptible to attack by molds and bacteria,” warns Lurueña.
If you forget to put the food in the fridge
She cooks at night for the next day, but it is time for bed and she forgets to put it in the fridge until she wakes up in the morning. «The prudent thing is not to eat it», Advises Miguel Ángel Lurueña. In order to know if it is really in good or bad condition, it would be necessary to carry out analyzes and that in the domestic sphere is not possible. To think that nothing happens because once reheated the bacteria will be killed is not wise either. Sometimes it is not enough. There are bacteria resistant to heating and others that produce toxins resistant to heat “, reveals the expert. The general rule is, once cooked, wait for it to harden (which does not burn to the touch) and put it in the fridge. If we want to speed up the cooling because we have to go to sleep, a good trick is to place cold plates under the pan.
Expiration or preferential consumption
On the label of packaged foods we can find the date of preferred consumption or expiration. The preferred consumption indicates the moment until which the product conserves the expected quality (flavor and texture). From that date, its organoleptic properties may deteriorate, but it is still safe for the consumer, provided that the storage instructions are respected and its packaging is not damaged, reports the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN). The expiration, however, indicates the time until which the food can be consumed without risk to health. If it’s over, throw it away.
How long does it last in the fridge
Packaged foods, once opened, can be kept in the fridge, but everything has a limit. The first thing, advises Miguel Ángel Lurueña, is to make sure that the temperature of the refrigerator is at most 4ºC all year, not only in summer. And then, follow the directions of the manufacturers of the product. In the case of UHT milk, if there is no express indication, it should not be left open for more than four days. In other cases, such as cooked food leftovers, at most 3 days; and in dishes with raw egg or seafood, no more than one day. The OCU points out that raw fish, minced meat, chicken or turkey do not last more than 1-2 days in the fridge, while beef or pork fillets and soups can be refrigerated 2-4 days.
Until it smells?
Going by the smell or taste of a food to determine if it is still in good condition can play tricks on us. «If it smells bad it is a sign that something bad has happened, but that it smells good is not a guarantee», Warns Miguel Ángel Lurueña, doctor in food technology. And there are bacteria that do not spoil the taste or smell of food, but are capable of making us sick, such as salmonella. Also, don’t put your nose close to a moldy food: “Inhaling fungi can cause respiratory damage,” warn the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU).
They have a fairly long expiration, but there are signs that indicate that it is better to discard them, even if they are not past the date. You must see that the packaging is not damaged, no rust or blows inward. “If the can is bulging it may be a sign that a bacterium has grown inside: Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism,” explains Miguel Ángel Lurueña. In glass jars, we have to pay attention to the fact that when opening it, it opposes resistance or the classic “pop” sounds.