11
Jan
10

Mailbag Monday part two… moldy cheese

Ewww

Question:  We found an unopened container of crumbled feta in the fridge (I forgot what its original purpose was supposed to be). Its expiration date was 12/15/09, but since it’s cheese, I assume that’s more of an arbitrary date — it’s not like it has a visible mold colony growing on it. Would you have any problem using it a month after its expiration date? Thanks – Kevin, Washington

Answer: The US Dept of Agriculture and the Mayo Clinic suggest the following. This is because of the types of mold that grow. Color is not always a good indicator for what molds are safe, however the general rule of thumb is stay away from the pinkish molds.

For Hard Cheeses such as: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, Romano, Gruyere

Safe to eat if the mold is removed. Cut off at least one inch around and below the mold spot. Keep the knife out of the mold itself so that it doesn’t cross-contaminate other parts of the cheese. Cover the cheese in fresh wrap.

For Semi-Soft Cheses such as: American, Asiago, baby Swiss, Monterey jack, mozzarella, Muenster, Gorgonzola

Safe to eat if the mold is removed. Cut off at least one inch around and below the mold spot. Keep the knife out of the mold itself so that it doesn’t cross-contaminate other parts of the cheese. Cover the cheese in fresh wrap.

For soft cheses such as: Brie, Camembert, cottage cheese, Neufchatel, feta, ricotta, shredded and sliced cheeses

Discard the cheese.

Also for dairy products like yogurt:

Discard it.

Since you say your feta isn’t showing any signs of mold, and still smells ok, I’d say it’s good to go.

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12 Responses to “Mailbag Monday part two… moldy cheese”


  1. 1 Brian Reid
    January 11, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I would hardly consider “American Cheese” to be cheese at all. Your best bet with that one is not to put it in your shopping cart since you don’t want to cross-contaminate your legitimate cheeses. It is such a shame that with all the great cheeses that are made in America (ie. Pt Reyes Farmstead, Cowgirl Creamery, Laura Chenel, to name a few) the cheese labeled “American Cheese” is that tasteless rubbery individually-wrapped sickly orange looking processed “cheese product”.

    • 2 Kevin
      January 11, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks for the answer, Patrick. I think I’ll let Bryce sample the cheese before we use it, then wait a day. Heh heh.

      Just to clarify, that wasn’t a picture of our feta!

  2. 3 Glenn
    January 13, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I have a bottle of CheeseWhiz(TM) from 1998 and it seems to be holding up just fine…

    ;-)

  3. March 22, 2013 at 4:34 am

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  6. August 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

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Patrick Bartlett


A conversation about food, wine, and the art of living well!

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