Mold On Mushrooms – Is it Safe to Eat? Answered by Experts

Mushrooms are a popular ingredient in many dishes due to their unique flavor and texture. However, sometimes mushrooms can develop mold, raising concerns about their consumption safety.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why mushrooms get moldy, the types of mold that can be found on mushrooms, whether or not it is safe to eat moldy mushrooms, ways to prevent mold growth on mushrooms, and how to identify fresh and spoiled mushrooms.

Is It Safe To Eat Moldy Mushrooms?

Generally advised to discard moldy mushrooms. Mold can produce toxins and mycotoxins, and consuming moldy mushrooms can lead to health issues. If you notice signs of spoilage or visible mold on mushrooms, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming them.

Here’s what you need to know about eating moldy mushrooms:

  • Discard moldy mushrooms: The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises discarding mushrooms that have mold. Mold can produce toxins and mycotoxins, which can cause food poisoning, nausea, and other health issues.
  • Check for spoilage: Mushrooms with dark, blotchy, wet spots or a slimy texture are signs of spoilage and potential mold growth. If only a few mushrooms in a bunch show these signs, it may be safe to pick them out and check the rest.
  • Be cautious with visible mold: Visible mold on mushrooms should be treated cautiously. Some molds can be toxic, and consuming moldy mushrooms can lead to respiratory problems or even poisoning.
  • Avoid salvaging moldy mushrooms: It is not recommended to try salvaging moldy mushrooms by removing the mold. Mold can grow deep into the food, and removing visible mold does not make it safe to consume.

What are the potential health risks of consuming moldy mushrooms?

Consuming moldy mushrooms can lead to food poisoning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. It can also cause allergic reactions or other health complications in severe cases. It is important to note that some molds can produce harmful mycotoxins, even in small amounts.

Here are the potential health risks associated with consuming moldy mushrooms:

  • Allergic reactions: Eating moldy mushrooms can lead to allergic reactions in some individuals, which may manifest as skin rashes, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Moldy mushrooms can cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
  • Respiratory problems: Some molds can be dangerous to the respiratory system and may cause breathing difficulties or exacerbate existing respiratory conditions.
  • Liver damage: In some cases, moldy mushrooms can potentially cause liver damage or other serious health problems.
  • Toxicity: Certain molds can produce toxins known as mycotoxins, which can be harmful when ingested. Mycotoxins can cause a range of health issues, including organ damage and even death.

It is important to note that the effects of consuming moldy mushrooms can vary depending on the type of mold present and individual susceptibility. To ensure food safety, it is generally recommended to discard moldy mushrooms rather than attempting to salvage them by removing the mold. If you have any doubts about the safety of mushrooms, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming them.

Why do mushrooms get moldy?

Understanding the causes of mold growth on mushrooms is essential in determining their safety for consumption. Fungal spores in the environment typically cause mold on mushrooms. When mushrooms are exposed to these spores, they can begin to develop mold. The spores can be present in the air, on the surface of the mushrooms, or in the soil where the mushrooms are grown.

What causes mold growth on mushrooms?

The presence of excess moisture primarily causes mold growth on mushrooms. Mushrooms thrive in damp environments; if they are not properly stored or handled, they can become a breeding ground for mold. Additionally, poor air circulation can contribute to mold growth on mushrooms.

How does mold develop on mushrooms?

Mold develops on mushrooms when fungal spores come into contact with the mushrooms and find a suitable environment for growth. The spores can land on the mushrooms during harvesting, transportation, or storage. Once the spores settle on the mushrooms, they can germinate and form a network of tiny threads called mycelium, which eventually develops into visible mold.

Does mold on mushrooms indicate they are bad?

While mold on mushrooms may be unsettling, it does not always mean they are unsafe to eat. The type of mold and the extent of the mold growth are factors to consider when determining the safety of moldy mushrooms.

Types of mold found on mushrooms

There are different types of mold that can be found on mushrooms, each with varying levels of safety for consumption.

What is cobweb mold and is it dangerous to eat?

Cobweb mold is a common type of mold found on mushrooms. It appears as a thin, white, web-like growth and is generally considered safe to eat. However, if the cobweb mold is accompanied by a slimy texture or an unpleasant odor, it is best to discard the mushrooms.

Is white fuzz on mushrooms a sign of mold?

Yes, white fuzz on mushrooms is a sign of mold growth. This type of mold is typically harmless and can be easily removed by gently wiping the affected areas with a damp cloth. However, if the mushrooms have become slimy or emit an unpleasant odor, it is advisable to discard them.

How can you identify the type of mold on mushrooms?

Identifying the specific type of mold on mushrooms can be challenging without professional analysis. However, visual cues such as color, texture, and odor can give you some indication of the type of mold present. If you have concerns about the mold on your mushrooms, it is best to consult a mycologist or a food safety expert.

Can you eat mushrooms with mold?

The decision to eat moldy mushrooms depends on various factors, including the mold type, the mold growth extent, and your risk tolerance. In general, it is not recommended to consume mushrooms that have visible mold, especially if a slimy texture or an unpleasant odor accompanies the mold.

Is it safe to eat mushrooms with visible mold?

Eating mushrooms with visible mold is not recommended, as it can harm your health. Mold produces mycotoxins, which are toxic substances that can cause food poisoning symptoms if ingested in large quantities.

How can you properly clean moldy mushrooms before eating?

If you decide to clean moldy mushrooms before consuming them, it is essential to do so properly to minimize the risk of ingesting mold spores. Start by discarding any mushrooms that are excessively moldy or have a slimy texture. For mushrooms with minor mold growth, gently brush off the visible mold with a soft brush or cloth. Avoid rinsing the mushrooms with water, which can introduce more moisture and encourage mold growth.

Preventing mold on mushrooms

Prevention is key when it comes to keeping mushrooms fresh and mold-free. By following some simple tips, you can minimize the chances of mold growth on your mushrooms.

What is the best way to store mushrooms to prevent mold?

The best way to store mushrooms is to keep them in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in a plastic bag or container, as it can trap moisture and promote mold growth. Instead, place the mushrooms in a brown paper bag or a porous container that allows for better air circulation.

How do you keep mushrooms fresh for longer periods?

To keep mushrooms fresh for longer periods, it is important to handle them with care. Avoid slicing or cutting mushrooms until you plan to eat them, as exposed surfaces are more prone to mold growth. Additionally, avoid washing mushrooms until just before use, as excess moisture can accelerate spoilage.

What are some tips to minimize mold growth on mushrooms?

Minimizing mold growth on mushrooms starts with purchasing fresh mushrooms from a reputable source. Choose mushrooms that appear firm and have a dry surface. Once you have brought them home, store them properly and consume them within a few days to reduce the risk of mold development.

Identifying fresh and spoiled mushrooms

Identifying fresh and spoiled mushrooms is crucial for ensuring your safety when consuming these fungi.

What are some signs that mushrooms have gone bad?

Signs that mushrooms have gone bad include a slimy texture, a strong odor, or a discolored appearance. To avoid potential health risks, mushrooms with dark spots or an off-color should be discarded.

How can you determine if mushrooms are still safe to eat?

To determine if mushrooms are still safe to eat, rely on your senses. Fresh mushrooms should have a mild, earthy aroma and a firm texture. If the mushrooms have a moldy smell or feel slimy to the touch, it is best to err on the side of caution and discard them.

Does an unpleasant odor always indicate spoiled mushrooms?

An unpleasant odor is often an indication that mushrooms have spoiled. However, it is important to note that some varieties of mushrooms, such as truffles, have a pungent smell that is considered desirable. It is best to consult an expert or discard the mushrooms if unsure.


It’s important to note that mushrooms can get moldy if exposed to too much moisture. While some mold on mushrooms is perfectly safe to eat, others can be poisonous. If you notice signs of mold, especially black mold, or white or grayish fuzz on your mushrooms, it’s best to throw them away to prevent potential health risks. To extend the shelf life of your mushrooms, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Properly handled and stored mushrooms are safe to eat without worrying about mold. 

Answering your questions about Moldy Mushrooms

Q: How can I tell if my mushrooms have mold?

A: If your mushrooms have visible signs of mold growth, such as black or green patches, sliminess, or a strong musty odor, it is best to throw them away. Mold on mushrooms can be a sign of spoilage and it is not safe to consume.

Q: How should I store mushrooms to prevent mold?

A: To keep mushrooms fresh and prevent mold growth, store them in a paper bag or a breathable container in the refrigerator. Avoid using plastic bags or airtight containers as they can trap moisture and promote mold growth. It is also recommended to keep mushrooms away from strong-smelling foods as they can absorb odors easily.

Q: What kind of mold can grow on mushrooms?

A: Different types of mold can grow on mushrooms, but the most common one is called cobweb mold. It appears as a fine white fuzz and can spread rapidly, making the mushrooms inedible. It is best to discard mushrooms showing signs of cobweb mold.

Q: How long do mushrooms last before they start to mold?

A: The shelf life of mushrooms can vary depending on various factors such as freshness at the time of purchase, storage conditions, and type of mushrooms. On average, whole mushrooms can last for about 5-7 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. Sliced mushrooms, on the other hand, tend to spoil faster and may last for around 2-3 days.

Q: What causes mold to grow on mushrooms?

A: Mold growth on mushrooms is primarily caused by the presence of excess moisture and unfavorable storage conditions. Mushrooms are highly perishable and require a cool and dry environment to stay fresh. The moisture content can encourage mold growth if they are not stored properly.

Q: Can I still eat mushrooms if they have been in the refrigerator for a week?

A: If your mushrooms still look fresh, have no visible signs of mold, and do not have an off-putting odor, they are most likely safe to eat even after being in the refrigerator for a week. However, it is always best to use your judgment and rely on your senses to determine whether or not mushrooms are still good to eat.

Q: How should mushrooms be kept to stay good for a longer time?

A: To extend the shelf life of mushrooms, it is important to handle and store them properly. Store your mushrooms in a breathable container or a paper bag in the refrigerator. Avoid washing them until right before use as excess moisture can speed up spoilage. Additionally, buying mushrooms as close to the date you plan to use them is recommended.

Q: Can I freeze mushrooms to prevent mold?

A: Freezing mushrooms can help prolong their shelf life, but it does not prevent mold growth. When freezing mushrooms, it is recommended to blanch them first to preserve their texture. Place them in a sealed container or freezer bag and use within 3-6 months for best quality.

Q: Can I eat raw mushrooms with white fuzz?

A: Raw mushrooms with white fuzz, which is mycelium, are safe to eat. However, some people prefer to remove the fuzz or cook the mushrooms before consuming to improve the texture and taste. It is a matter of personal preference.


  • Michael Ward, Preventive Medicine Specialist (General Health and Wellness)

    As a preventive medicine specialist, Michael Ward covers general health and wellness topics on His articles focus on the broader aspects of well-being, discussing lifestyle factors, exercise, stress management, and overall preventive strategies. Michael's expertise in preventive medicine ensures that readers receive comprehensive information on maintaining and optimizing their health, complementing the specific topics covered by other authors on the blog.

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