Why You Can’t Just Slice The Mold Off A Loaf Of Bread And Eat The Rest

It is an unspeakably frustrating feeling when you go to make a sandwich and realize that your bread is growing green stuff on it. “But wait,” you think to yourself. “That’s just a teeny tiny spot of mold. It’s definitely not bigger than, say, my pinky nail. Maybe my thumb nail. I’ll just throw that slice out. Sandwiches!” Unfortunately, science says, this is a bad move. That whole loaf is kaput.

But what?! It’s just one spot! Why should I have to throw out the whole loaf? Well, because mold has long, threadlike roots. These “roots” of mold spores can infiltrate airy baked goods like breads and muffins. That means even if you pitch the slice of bread with the mold on it, there could be tons of microscopic stuff deep within the rest of the loaf. So, into the trash with  that bread!

freshly baked ciabatta bread on wooden cutting board

That being said, a loaf of sliced bread that comes in a bag can sometimes be salvageable, according to Marianne Gravely, a senior technical information specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture. If you can tell that just one end of a large loaf of bread is mold-free, both inside and out, you can probably keep it, she told NPR in an interview.

If you really think the rest of the loaf looks okay, make sure to throw away not just the moldy slice but the slice next to it as well. And on top of that, be very very careful to check the rest of the loaf for other green spots.

It’s not worth getting sick because you didn’t feel like eating a lettuce wrap. When in doubt, throw it out.

“I have seen mold spread from one slice to the next,” Gravely said in her NPR interview. “I’m sure some people would really want to press the situation, but bread is cheap. Go buy some more.”