Eat it or no?
January 7, 2008 1:00 AM   Subscribe

I left my blue cheese in the fridge for a month- will eating it kill me? It's moldy already, right?

When I got home from extended christmas break, I found a half hunk of blue cheese that I left in the fridge since Dec 15th or so. It was unwrapped, in a Glad-lock container.

I realize eating it probably isnt a great idea, but's supposed to be moldy anyway right? What's more mold? (It's moldier than usual, there's mold spots on the outside that aren't there usually.)

Eat it? Trash it? Let it grow into sentience and teach it tricks?
posted by T.D. Strange to Food & Drink (18 answers total)
Best answer: Teach it tricks -- like how to give someone listeria. Kidding. Kind of.

This site says this:

But mold on cheese that’s not part of the manufacturing process can also harbor harmful bacteria, such as listeria, brucella, salmonella and E. coli. With hard and semisoft cheese, you can cut away the moldy part and eat the rest of the cheese. But soft cheeses should be discarded.

Further down they add this:

Moldy Cheese? What to do:


Soft Brie, blue cheese, Camembert, cottage cheese, Neufchatel, feta, ricotta, shredded and sliced cheeses Discard the cheese.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2006

Blow the horn softly and remember it well, for tonight we mourn the blue cheese that should be thrown out.
posted by empyrean at 1:15 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

A month is a probably too long for your blue cheese, especially if it was one of the softer blue cheeses to begin with. You mentioned it has new mold, with some cheeses if the cheese were just a week or two old maybe it would be OK to scrape off that specific new colony of fungus or the outside layer of the cheese, but I don't know about blue cheese. Don't eat it, who knows what that new growth is. If it really has new growth on it, it's not worth risking your health to eat it, and scraping it off when it's a month old is a bad idea too.
posted by gavtaylor at 1:24 AM on January 7, 2008

Pff, what would the US Department of Agriculture know? Eat it.
posted by kisch mokusch at 1:30 AM on January 7, 2008

It wouldn't taste real good anyway...
posted by nicolin at 2:35 AM on January 7, 2008

Don't eat it.
posted by jacalata at 3:11 AM on January 7, 2008

You know, I used to be one of those "eat it anyway" people. Hell, I once opened up a jar of ten-year-old pickle relish because I was desperate for a condiment, and ate it with no ill effects. But a couple weeks ago, something-- I still don't know what-- gave me food poisoning.

Vomiting and dry heaves.
Intestinal spasms.
Chills and uncontrollable shivering.

I don't know if I've ever felt so helpless and terrified in my life.

I thought I'd need an ambulance. I thought I could die.

My wife was there to cover me with blankets and watch over me. I lay in bed and fell asleep somehow, and when I woke up a couple of hours later, the symptoms had passed. I felt like I had made a narrow escape through luck alone.

Don't eat it. It's not worth it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:43 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Normally, I'd be all "go ahead and eat it if you don't mind taking a chance of getting really ill" because things like salmonella and e coli typically aren't lethal if you get treated and are otherwise healthy.

Listeriosis, with it's 20-30% mortality rate, on the other hand, doesn't sound like much fun at all.
posted by juv3nal at 3:54 AM on January 7, 2008

Food poisoning sucks, especially when contracted from something as cheep and readily available as blue cheese.

Throw it out, buy another one, live happily ever after.
posted by Pecinpah at 5:25 AM on January 7, 2008

But a couple weeks ago, something-- I still don't know what-- gave me food poisoning.

The "I don't know what" kind of points out the futility of the whole thing. Does anyone get food poisoning knowingly?
posted by smackfu at 6:08 AM on January 7, 2008

If it's a harder cheese, just scrape off the outside and you're fine. If it's penetrated the cheese, it's a goner.
posted by desuetude at 6:27 AM on January 7, 2008

Best answer: What's more mold?

It's not that it's more mold, it's that it's a different type of mold. All molds are not created equal. ("Carrots are plants, right? And they're safe to eat. And hemlock is also a plant, so I can eat that too, right?")

In fact, as the sort of person who likes to give serious answers to jokey questions, the answer to "how do you know when blue cheese goes bad?" is, in fact, "when it gets a different kind of mold on it."

I'm not one of the "OMFG never eat anything that has even a 0.000000001% chance of giving you food poisoning because it's so awful" people. I believe in balancing a minimal risk of food poisoning with other factors. And, FWIW, the risk of food poisoning is more than "minimal" in this case and I wouldn't eat it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:30 AM on January 7, 2008

FWIW, if you had kept it properly wrapped, it probably would not have grown the new mold and would still be edible.

Add me to the list of MeFites who say pitch this one and buy another.
posted by briank at 6:36 AM on January 7, 2008

Best answer: Send it to me. I have no problem spending three hours on a cold tile floor, wracked by great intestinal spasms, sweating and shivering uncontrollably. Blue cheese tastes THAT GOOD to me.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:31 AM on January 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

Nth-ing the "don't eat it" folks - even moderate food poisoning is not fun. It probably tastes like ammonia floor cleaner by now, anyhow, based on my experience with bleu cheese that have sat a while.
posted by aught at 8:08 AM on January 7, 2008

As much as I'm nonchalant about food, visible mold= waaaay more invisible mold than you want to think about. So yea, toss it.
posted by fermezporte at 8:21 AM on January 7, 2008

Response by poster: Ah damn, my worst fears were confirmed. He's dead, Jim.

I had no idea listeria was that dangerous though. Thats pretty scary.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:50 AM on January 7, 2008

Hi. Former cheeseseller here.

Your bleu cheese is probably fine. I myself have consumed cheeses that were forgotten at the back of the cheese drawer for...well, a long time*. And when I worked selling cheese, the only time we ever threw out moldy cheese was if the mold was pink (no, I don't remember why anymore).

But, having worked in food, my other standard is "When in doubt, throw it out."

*I once brought home a beautiful, fresh, handmade goat's milk cheese. I wrapped it carefully in wax paper (so it could breathe) and put it in the cheese drawer in my fridge. And forgot about it. For six weeks. I almost cried when I found it, but when I unwrapped it, I discovered that it had transmogrified into a beautifully and perfectly aged goat's milk cheese. I ate it.
posted by rtha at 9:29 AM on January 7, 2008

Bin it, get some nice fresh stuff instead!
posted by kenchie at 9:38 AM on January 7, 2008

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