Moulds do not have any health benefit. Even the bible records that mold growing indoors are a hazard to human health (Leviticus 14:39-47).
Any food with mould growing on it should not be eaten or fed to animals because mould produces some chemicals called mycotoxins. Even if you remove the area where the mould is growing, the mycotoxins (mould toxins) will still be present in the food. These toxins are so small and cannot be seen with the naked eye. A strand of hair is hundred times bigger than a mould toxin. Do not smell foods to see if they are spoiled because inhaling mold spores can set off an allergic reaction.
Moulds can grow from a few hours to days, depending on the kind of food, availability of moisture and air. Please desist from piling up unused plate for more than 8-10 hours to prevent moulds from growing on them because once moulds begin to grow, their toxins will be produced. After washing the plate, residues of the toxins may still be present and these toxins can be very potent even at very small doses. It is best to wash your plates immediately after eating.
In addition, always use a clean plate. I have seen people who eat breakfast with one plate and without washing; they use the same plate to eat lunch or at times, dinner. Please, if you do this, I advise that you desist from the act. The reason is simple, the remnant particles from the previous meal has been left exposed and may be contaminated with tiny mold spores that can become a source of contamination to the new meal. If you feel you will not have time to wash your dishes, I recommend that you purchase disposable plates or at worst, refrigerate your used plate if you intend to reuse it.
Also, please ensure you discard your pet’s left-over food after 8-10 hours and ensure you wash your pet’s plate before serving a new meal, and at the end of each day.
Furthermore, please ensure you inspect the food in your child’s plate, especially when they are eating a left-over meal. Also, leftover food that is still intended for consumption should be kept in the refrigerator for not more than 10 hours because moulds can even grow in the refrigerator, especially when there is epileptic power supply. Before you eat stored fruits, ensure it is mould-free because moulds can spread quickly in fruits and vegetables.
Removal of mould toxins
Mould toxins in food can be reduced by identifying, sorting and removing mould infested foods. For instance, when eating groundnut, walnut or any kind of fruit, please don’t consume the mouldy ones.
It has also been found that Heating and cooking food under pressure can destroy nearly 70 per cent of Aflatoxin (a mould toxin) in rice, and 90 per cent of ochratoxin (a mould toxin) in coffee.
Natural clay has also been found to possess the ability to bind to mould toxins in the stomach and intestines. Once clay binds these toxins, they can no longer be absorbed into our bodies. This probably explains the reason why cases of ‘toxins’ and its adverse effects was not commonly recorded a decade ago when we stored our water in clay pots.
The natural detoxifying ability of clay has also been evident in some animals that instinctively consume clay before or after eating poisonous plants. For example, chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda, have been observed to consume soil rich in kaolinite clay shortly before or after consuming certain poisonous leaves. Also, the Peruvian Amazon rainforest parrots are known to consume clay shortly after eating poisonous seeds.
The observation of geophagy (consumption of clay) in these animals led to research on the usefulness of clay in binding to mycotoxins. One person at the fore front of this research is Timothy Phillips, a distinguished professor in toxicology and molecular biology. Phillips is currently the Director, Center for Food Safety; Texas A&M University, Texas, USA.
Phillips has carried out several clinical studies on the effect of clay in removal of a mould toxin (Aflatoxin) in rats, dogs and humans in the United States, Sierra Leone and Kenya. His ‘clay’ research resulted in the creation of a nutritional supplement made out of purified clay.
For the ‘clay supplement’ to be finally approved by the FDA (a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services), it had to go through various phases of drug trials. The second drug trial phase involved 180 participants and it was carried out in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. This community was chosen because of the high level of aflatoxin that is found in the corn that is used to make a staple food called ‘Banku’.
According to Philips, the drug trials reveal that “a 500 mg capsule of the clay supplement consumed before meals absorbed the toxins and prevented its absorption into the stomach and intestine.”
Preventing moulds in your environment
An effective method of preventing moulds is by reducing the amount of moisture in the environment. This can be achieved by determining the source of the moisture, and fixing the problem immediately. Ensure you clean up any floods or spills immediately (within 24-48 hours) and when using air conditioners and dehumidifiers, empty any water collectors regularly so this water does not contribute to the moisture problem!
Have a splendid weekend.