Finding mold on most foods is a disastrous scenario, as it means the food has spoiled. However, you’ve heard that white mold on sausage isn’t something to be feared and can actually be beneficial. That said, you’re still weary. Is it safe to eat salami with white mold?
White mold on salami is quite common and indicates successful curing; it is safe to eat. That said, if you’d prefer not to ingest mold, you can always wipe the mold off the sausage before you cook and ingest it.
In today’s exploratory guide, we’ll investigate why sausage develops white mold, talk further about whether the mold is safe to eat, and touch on whether you can remove the mold or if you should leave it.
What Is White Mold on Salami?
As said in the intro, the presence of mold on food is usually a very clear indicator to throw it away, especially when looking at common foods such as bread and fruit.
However, that’s not the case for all foods such as cheese and sausage.
These foods usually contain a strain of white mold. In the case of sausage and other prepared meats, the strain is known as Penicillium Nalgiovense.
The texture of the mold is quite powdery, which can be highly off-putting to most people.
Yet the mold is allowed to develop and is left there during manufacturing for a reason.
The white mold covers the salami or sausage and safeguards it from other molds. Bacteria also can’t get through to the white mold, so it gives up.
Further, the presence of mold–which is attracted to warm, humid environments–keeps the meat fresher for longer so that it has a longer shelf life by the time it arrives at a grocery store or deli near you.
That said, the white stuff that you see on your packaged salami isn’t always exclusively Penicillium Nalgiovense mold.
To prevent the sausages from caking, some manufacturers will use cornstarch. The residue, which is white, could be present on the mold.
If not cornstarch, then maize-based and wheat-based flour might be used instead. It serves the same purpose and also leaves behind a white residue.
Is Mold on Cured Sausage Safe to Eat?
Knowing what you do now about the presence of white mold on sausage and other processed meats, you should have a stronger inkling about whether the mold is safe to consume.
Indeed, it is. If it wasn’t, then the manufacturer would never have left the mold on there.
Even if by chance the mold slipped through the quality control process at the meat packaging facility, a grocery store would not willingly put moldy food on its store shelves unless the mold was supposed to be there.
Ingesting Penicillium Nalgiovense mold will not cause any adverse health effects.
Some people believe that the presence of white mold even improves the flavor of the cured meat.
What Other Types of Mold (Besides White) Grow on Cured Sausage?
We’ve already established that white mold will grow naturally on cured sausage, but it’s not the only type of mold to be aware of.
Let’s take this section to explore the other types now.
Referred to as toxic black mold by some, if you ever spot black flecks on some links of cured sausage or salami that you know wasn’t there when you bought it, take heed.
The sausage likely developed black mold.
This typically happens when stashing cured sausage in an environment with high humidity and no ventilation.
The mold might only look like it’s affected part of the sausage, but the entire pack of sausage must be thrown away, even the sausages that don’t look moldy.
The mold could have spread, and you’d have to cut or bite into it to find it, which is not advisable.
In the future, watch the conditions in which you keep cured sausage to prevent another recurrence of black mold.
If not black mold, then cured sausage may also develop green mold.
The hue of the mold isn’t always a sickening bright green like slime but can appear blueish depending on the color of the sausage.
Green mold has a fuzzy texture that’s not at all like the powdery texture seen in Penicillium Nalgiovense white mold.
Another giveaway that yours is green mold is that it crumbles.
A lack of ventilation plus high humidity can lead to the spread of green mold.
Although green mold isn’t quite as dangerous as black mold, you still should not ingest sausage that contains this strain of mold.
There is one exception, though. If you’re snacking on salami rather than sausage, then it may develop patches of blue or green mold.
This mold is considered safe for consumption. However, the colorful mold should be in addition to the presence of white mold.
If you see an absence of white mold and only blue or green mold on salami, you should think twice before eating it.
Is It a Good Sign if Cured Sausage Has Mold?
It’s hard to break the cycle that seeing mold on food is automatically bad. Yet for cheese and sausage specifically, it’s best to change your mindset.
Going back to our point from earlier in this article, the Penicillium Nalgiovense strain of white mold that develops on cured sausage is highly advantageous.
The mold prevents the sausage from drying too soon, making it unpalatable and possibly even unsalable.
Much more importantly than a retailer’s bottom line, Penicillium Nalgiovense limits the spread of other mold and bacteria on the sausage so it’s better for you to eat.
This mold is intentionally allowed to foster. When curing salami and other meats, the sausage will sit in a curing chamber for long periods.
The curing chamber includes temperature and humidity control and lacks light. The heat and humidity go up, the sausage stays in the dark, and mold forms sooner than later.
The mold is considered beneficial and is nothing to fear.
Should You Remove the Mold from a salami?
Understandably, though, there is indeed a difference between accepting the presence of mold on your food such as meat or cheese and actually wanting to consume it.
Can you remove the mold from a cured sausage?
Well, yes and no.
Most white mold that grows on sausage is on the outer casing. If you wanted to, you could scrape that off using a butter knife or even your finger if you felt daring.
You’ll recall from earlier though that many sausage enthusiasts feel like the mold adds a certain element of flavor to the sausage, improving its umami if you will.
The savory taste of cured sausage simply lacks the same depth of flavor once the mold is gone. Thus, even though you could, you maybe shouldn’t.
Now, we said before that you can and can’t remove white mold from a cured sausage, so allow us to elaborate.
Mold that’s on the surface of the sausage is removable, as we’ve confirmed. Yet sometimes, mold grows inside the cured sausage as well.
That is not so easily removable. It will be in every last piece.
You’d have to throw away the entire sausage, and that would be a tremendous waste of food considering there’s nothing wrong with the sausage.
The presence of white mold on salami can be quite alarming, but there’s no need to panic.
The mold is intentionally grown to prevent other types of mold as well as bacteria from forming on the curing sausage.
The white mold strain, Penicillium Nalgiovense, also prevents the sausage from drying too soon.
White mold on sausage is perfectly safe to eat and even enhances the flavor. That said, if you see black mold on any cured meats, and green or blue mold on any type of meat besides salami, you should dispose of the meat immediately.