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Why Does My Cheese Mold

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Graphic of hand cutting mold off cheese

Like many great inventions, the discovery of cheese was probably an accident. Experts believe, soon after the domestication of livestock, someone tried to store milk. That milk separated into the curds and whey. About 12,000 years later, we have the gift that is cheese.

Remnants of cheese can be found in Egyptian tombs and records of “rushan” date back to the Ming Dynasty. By the height of the Roman Empire, hundreds of varieties had already been cultivated.[1] Whether a hard or soft cheese, mold growth continues to be is a big challenge.

Storage: Generally, cheese is best stored, lightly wrapped in your refrigerator. Some people choose to wrap cheese in plastic wrap or a storage container. Once opened, cheese should be eaten within 3-6 weeks. “Soft cheeses such as cream cheese, cottage cheese, shredded cheeses, and goat cheese must be refrigerated for safety. As a general rule, hard cheeses such as cheddar, processed cheeses (American), and both block and grated Parmesan do not require refrigeration for safety, but they will last longer if kept refrigerated. Ricotta, cottage, and cream cheeses do not freeze well. Other cheeses may be frozen for 6 months.[2]

Why Does Cheese Mold: Some cheeses utilize mold as part of their normal fermentation and manufacturing; mold-ripened products (e.g. Brie cheese) are safe to consume. However, mold can grow quickly on cheese.

Mold Management: If your cheese molds, hard and soft cheese need to be handled differently.

· Hard Cheese: “Remove the molded portion and use the rest of the product.”[3] Be generous with how much you cut off. You want to cut an inch past the molded portion to remove any unseen mold.

· Soft Cheese: If mold growth on soft cheese is not a part of manufacturing, the whole cheese product should be discarded.

To learn more visit: and remember to store your cheese safely!

[1] (National Historic Cheese Making Center, 2021) [2] (USDA, 2017) [3] (Snyder, 2018)

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