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 filth—in 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 water.
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 С to the dough, your breads will be mold free for an extended period (and rise higher).
What is so important about molds? Some of them produce very, very toxic chemicals wherever they grow. They produce some of the most toxic chemicals known to exist. Aflatoxin is one of these. My tests show it is always present in cancer patients; in other words it has built up due to the body’s inability to detoxify it in a reasonable time. A great deal of research has been done on aflatoxin. Any library would have more information.
Aflatoxin reaches the liver and simply kills portions of it. After a hefty dose the liver is weakened for a long time— possibly years. Hepatitis and cirrhosis cases always reveal afla — toxin. The liver fights hard to detoxify aflatoxin and manage its own survival. It manages for 2 to 3 weeks; then a portion of it succumbs. So the toxic effects of a dose of aflatoxin aren’t even noticeable for several weeks! And without a taste or smell to guide you, how would you know to stop eating the moldy peanut butter or spaghetti? The answer is:
1. make and bake things for yourself
2. test the things you dearly love but can’t make
3. treat things that are treatable for molds
4. throw the rest out of your diet
Treatments mentioned in the industrial research journals are hydrogen peroxide, strong alkali such as lime-water, metabisulfite (a common reducing agent) and high heat. I have tried heat and vitamin С, which is also a reducing agent.
Just heating a food to the boiling point does not kill the molds. Boiling for many minutes at a higher temperature or baking does kill them (but not ergot, another mold) and also destroys aflatoxin they produced and left in the food. For foods you can’t heat that high, for example nuts that are already roasted, or vinegar, vitamin С comes to the rescue. I suppose it acts a lot like the bisulfite; chemically destroying the mold toxin molecules.