Everything that's animal or vegetable can get moldy. While
living things are alive, the mold attackers can be held at bay. As
soon as they are dead, molding begins. First it molds; then bacterial
action sets in. This is what makes things biodegradable. It
is a precious phenomenon. It does away with filthóin an exquisite
manner. Without mold and decay the streets of New York
would still be full of horse manure from the days of the horse and
buggy and our lakes too full of dead fish to swim in.
Every grain has its molds; every fruit has its molds; tea and
coffee plants have their molds; as do all herbs, and vegetables.
Nuts have their molds; nuts grown in the ground (peanuts) are
especially moldy because the earth is so full of mold spores. But
the wind carries these spores high up into trees, and even up to
the stratosphere. Molds are not very choosy. They have their
preference for certain plants and conditions. But the same molds
can grow on many plants. This is why aflatoxin, for instance, is
found not just in your cereal, bread and pasta but in nuts, maple
syrup, orange juice, vinegar, wine, etc. Where is it not? It is not
in dairy products or fresh fruit and vegetables, provided you
wash the outside. It is not in meat, eggs, and fish. It is not in
Although I find aflatoxin in commercial bread, I do not find it
in carefully screened wheat that has had its discolored, shriveled
seeds removed before using it for making bread, cereals
and noodles. It is not in baked goods bought at bakeries, left open
to air. Evidently the system of wrapping baked goods in plastic
keeps moisture trapped and starts the molding process. In spite of
adding mold inhibitors, American bread-stuff is far inferior to
Mexican baked goods in which I do not find aflatoxin!
Here is some good news for cooks: if you bake it yourself,
adding a bit of vitamin C to the dough, your breads will be mold
free for an extended period (and rise higher).