You reach into the fridge, take out a yogurt and pull off the cover only to find mold on the top. Is it safe to eat and how can you tell when yogurt gets moldy?
This article will give you answers to these questions and more, including information on why yogurt gets moldy and what to do when it appears.
This applies to all types of yogurt, such as traditional, plain, fat-free, flavored or Greek.
Causes of Mold in Yogurt
A big cause of mold in yogurt is not storing it at a cold enough temperature. The door of a fridge is not a good place to keep it because that is the warmest area.
You should put yogurt in the back of the fridge where it is coolest. The best temperature to keep it at is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
Another good tip is to store it on a low shelf since cold air goes down.
Additionally, you should not keep yogurt at room temperature for over two hours. Doing so can cause it to spoil.
Sometimes the milk used in making yogurt contains mold and therefore, it will show up in the finished product. This can happen when contaminated air enters the milk tanks.
Yogurt will last 7-14 days when stored properly. Any longer than that and you run the risk of mold or spoilage.
If you eat flavored yogurt, this can go bad a bit quicker because bacteria grows more in yogurts that contain sugar and fruit.
Unopened containers will last longer, so if you only eat part of the yogurt, seal up the remainder tightly before putting it back in the fridge. Otherwise, an open container of yogurt will last three to five days.
If you are making your own yogurt, make sure you use pasteurized milk. This will help prevent it from getting contaminated or having mold.
How To Tell If Yogurt Has Mold
Mold appears on the surface of yogurt.
There are several signs that yogurt has gone moldy. Here is what you need to look for:
- A lot of liquid at the top
- Sour or bad smell
- Black, green, orange, white or pink spots
- Blue fuzz
- Curdling at the bottom
- Off taste
- Check the packaging and original container to make sure there everything is sealed up
- Check under the lid for spots
What To Do With Moldy Yogurt
If you see mold in yogurt, it should be discarded. Mold contains toxins that are dangerous and should not be consumed.
While you will see the mold at the top, it still spreads throughout the food, so scraping it off is not a good option.
According to the USDA, moldy yogurt should be thrown out because it has a high moisture content and therefore, can be contaminated below the surface. It can also have bacteria growing with the mold.
What Will Happen If You Eat Moldy Yogurt
If you accidentally eat yogurt with mold, there’s a good chance you will be ok. You’ll likely pass it through excretion.
You also may have brief stomach problems and diarrhea.
However there can be certain, more serious health issues that occur from consuming moldy yogurt. These include respiratory problems, allergic reactions and vomiting.
Keep in mind that the yogurt will taste bad, so there’s a good chance you won’t eat too much of it once you take that first bite.
If you happen to eat yogurt made with unpasteurized milk, this is more of a problem. It can contain harmful bacteria including E. coli and salmonella.
You might experience dehydration and should seek medical attention.
Can You Rely on Sell-by Dates?
These should be used as a general guide but nothing more. The sell-by date is a guess as to how long the product will be good.
Also of note, there’s very little correlation between sell-by dates and food safety.
Chances are yogurt will last a few days past the date stamped on but you shouldn’t keep it much longer than that.
The best thing to do is check the food, look at it and smell it for signs of spoilage before you begin eating.
How To Prevent Mold in Yogurt
Make sure yogurt is stored properly and not kept out of the fridge for too long.
A good way to preserve yogurt is to put it in an airtight container. It should last longer and reduce the chances of growing mold.
When the food is not sealed tightly, airborne spores can get in and it will dry out and spoil faster.
In areas where it’s hot and humid, mold is more likely, especially in a product that needs to be kept cold. Mold spreads through the air and likes moist conditions.
When eating yogurt, make sure you use a clean spoon. Since there’s bacteria naturally in our mouths, you don’t want to use a spoon that you’ve eaten something else with.
You also shouldn’t use the same spoon you just scooped another food product with. Although it might be more convenient, this can increase the chances of mold and more bacteria forming, so wash it first or take a new utensil.
If you want yogurt to last longer, look for ones with preservatives. Some will have them while others won’t because they will be all natural.
The ones with preservatives help the yogurt from spoiling quickly. Yet these are much less healthy for you, so keep that in mind when deciding which type to buy.
One more tactic to prevent mold would be to freeze yogurt. This will change the texture, though.
It will be thinner and less smooth. Also, there will be more liquid at the top.
You can try it and see if you like it but don’t expect it to taste the same as it would prior to freezing
. Yogurt will definitely lose some of its flavor and taste after being in the freezer.
While you might not like how it tastes once it thaws, you can use it to cook. Since it’s mixed in with other ingredients, the taste won’t be affected as much.