Finding an old bar of chocolate that you stashed away sometime back is exceptionally thrilling. However, that excitement may be cut short when you unwrap the chocolate only to find it covered in a white coating that appears like mold. But does mold on chocolate make you sick?
What appears to be mold on chocolate changes the taste of the chocolate bar, but it won’t make you sick. But, pure chocolate nearly never gets mold because it lacks the moisture required for mold growth. That white layer you see on chocolate is known as bloom and is entirely safe to eat.
If you’re still hesitant to eat that white-covered chocolate, keep reading and find out more! I’m going to share with you valuable tips and tricks.
Is White Stuff on Chocolate Mold?
Finding a bar of old chocolate might be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s free candy, but on the other, it will probably have some weird white stuff on it. The good news is that it’s not mold – white spots and dots on your chocolate are signs of sugar or fat bloom.
Sugar bloom occurs when the chocolate has been in warm spaces causing its surface to sweat. The moisture dissolves the sugar, and once the bar dries, sugar crystallizes on the surface. Sugar bloom is typically dry and can make the chocolate feel a little sandy or gritty.
Fat bloom happens when chocolate containing cocoa butter melts and solidifies. Cocoa butter stays solid at room temperature. But, when you expose it to higher temperatures, it can melt and solidify to an improper state, causing the white layer on top. As a result, the white stains from fat appear greasier and streaky.
While chocolate doesn’t offer a hospitable environment for mold, some chocolate bars have other ingredients that can carry mold or pathogens or even go bad. For example, one way a bar of store-bought chocolate might have (but very rarely) mold is if the cocoa beans used were moldy even before processing. Note that cocoa, the main ingredient of chocolate, needs to be harvested and processed dry to offer premium products.
However, sometimes things might slip through the nooks, and moldy cocoa beans could be used to create chocolate. Moldy cocoa will give chocolate bars an off taste that you’d notice straight away. If left to sit for some time, the chocolate may grow mold.
Moreover, ingredients including cream, milk, and dried fruit can cause chocolate to be more susceptible to bacteria and mold growth. Some studies indicate that chocolate with nuts has a shorter shelf life and might grow mold if the chocolate is left for a long time.  Besides, chocolate with uncooked beans or unpasteurized, raw milk ingredients is more likely to be contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella.
In some instances, mold might be due to improper packaging that exposes the chocolate to pathogens. Moreover, you might see mold on chocolate if it was hand-made and wet ingredients were used. For example, that can happen with homemade truffles or other similar chocolate delicacies with a wetter consistency.
How Do You Tell the Difference Between Bloom and Actual Mold on Chocolate?
It can be challenging to differentiate the mold and bloom, with most people assuming that the white chalky is mold. However, while the two might look similar, there’s a difference between them: if it’s fuzzy and growing off and above the chocolate surface, it’s mold, and if it’s a chalky layer film, then it’s probably just bloom.
Besides, if there were mold on chocolate, it would probably be green speck and spots (you should never eat green mold).
Is It Safe to Eat Chocolate That Turns White?
I understand that it’s better to play it safe and avoid eating things you’re unsure of. But, in the future, if you notice a white coating on your chocolate, you can be sure it’s safe to eat. However, it may have a less appetizing look, and instead of a lustrous rich candy, it will have ugly splotches resembling mold.
Moreover, for someone with a highly refined palate, you might discover that the chocolate is not up to par in terms of texture, flavor, and taste.
What To Do With Moldy/White-Covered Chocolate?
So, you have a stockpile of chocolate, but the unsightly bloom hinders you from eating them. You can indulge your cravings with a bit of DIY fixes.
First, you need to re-temper the chocolate bar. Melt it, stir it thoroughly, and pour it somewhere. This can disguise the white streaks and spots and refresh the flavor and consistency. Once cooled, you’ll have fat and sugar blended into the chocolate that has its glorious brown color.
You can use this mixture for baking or make toasty mugs of homemade drinking chocolate or hot cocoa. Besides, you can dip dried fruits, biscotti, nuts, or even bacon in the melted chocolate for a delicious, cute homemade snack.
You can even allow the melted chocolate to harden in different mold shapes, which you indulge in as snacks or save for a later date.
How Do You Prevent Chocolate Bloom?
Storage is essential in maintaining texture and taste regardless of the type of chocolate- white, dark, cooking, or milk. The most efficient way of preventing bloom is to store the chocolate in a cool, dry place with a consistent temperature. The ideal temperature should be between 64 and 68 degrees and between 50 and 55 percent humidity.
Moreover, it would be best to never expose the chocolate to flashes of heat or direct sunlight. Also, remember that chocolate can absorb flavors from foods near it. So, ensure that you seal it tight and keep it away from foods with strong odors.
How Long Can It Take for Chocolate to Get Mold?
The higher the cocoa percentage in chocolate, the longer you can store without worrying about mold growth or quality-deterioration. High-quality chocolate with over 80% cocoa can easily last two years without showing any signs of flavor loss or mold growth.
However, low-quality chocolates may have additives that cause them to taste stale within 6-8 months. It’s vital to note that chocolate with less fat and sugar has a longer shelf life, while those with wafers and nuts have shorter ones.
What Happens If You Eat an Actual Mold on Chocolate? Will It Make You Sick?
Typically, the human systems will digest mold on chocolate like other food. However, whether the mold can make you sick depends on your immune system. Your beneficial gut flora will ensure that the mold doesn’t impact your health if you have a robust immune system.
But, you might experience some vomiting or nausea due to the taste (or the idea) of what you’ve just eaten. The symptoms are usually a result of the body trying to restore its balance of healthy gut bacteria. If your immune system is weak, mold can invade the upper respiratory tract, digestive tract, or brain and cause severe impacts.
What To Do If You Eat Mold Accidentally?
When you ingest mold, you should watch out for symptoms of adverse reactions that mimic food poisonings, such as diarrhea, fever, dizziness, vomiting, and headache. In addition, you can add a probiotic into your health routine, and if your immune system is weak or you’ve had prior allergies to mold, seek immediate medical attention.
Can You Freeze Chocolate to Prevent Mold Growth?
You can store chocolate in the fridge for it to last longer. You can get 6-8 months out of them in your fridge and over three years in the freezer. But the chances are that it will emerge from the freezer or fridge at a lower quality.
Refrigerated chocolate will probably have blooms since freezing causes a severe temperature fluctuation, and the thawing process will likely cause the white streaks. However, you can try to lower the bloom effects by vacuum-sealing the chocolate and allowing it to cool down in the fridge before transferring it to your freezer.
Can You Just Cut the Mold Off Your Chocolate?
If the mold patches on the chocolate don’t freak you out, you could be tempted to cut them off and continue eating. Some people even say that if you cut at least an inch around and below the moldy spot, you can eat the “good” part of the chocolate or even wrap it in a new covering for a later date.
Unfortunately, what you see as mold is simply fuzzy discolored tops. These tops have roots that have invaded the chocolate and allow toxins to spread throughout your treat. So, the best move is to throw away chocolate with actual mold in its entirety, no matter where you see the patch.
How to Tell If Chocolate Is Gone Bad?
You should pay attention to the expiration date, mainly if the chocolate contains other ingredients such as nuts, fruits, or caramel. However, most of the time, you can eat chocolate beyond the best-by date (although the quality of chocolate won’t be premium).
You can also tell a chocolate bar has gone bad through its odor. Chocolate is a confection that absorbs the smell of anything close to it. That could be off-putting if you placed your chocolate near some strong-smelling savory foods.
So, if you notice that your chocolate has a savory odor, and has no other signs of spoiling, then chances are it hasn’t gone bad. However, if it gives off a strange smell and you didn’t store it near strong-smelling foods, it could be an indicator that the chocolate has gone bad.
While taste shouldn’t be a go-to way of telling if suspicious chocolate has spoiled, you can tell if the chocolate is spoiled by tasting. If it has gone bad, the chocolate will have a rancid or off-taste to it. Sometimes, it might have an overpowering cocoa flavor or taste that you don’t recognize.
Note that chocolate with fruits that have gone bad will have a slightly fermented flavor while nuts can go rancid, creating a bitter, nearly metallic bite.
Can Manufacturing Tempering Troubles Cause Chocolate Molds?
Tempering entails heating and cooling chocolate properly. It ensures the chocolate has the desired smooth, glossy finish and prevents it from melting quickly at room temperatures.
Be careful because tempering is a tricky process, and some brands use intuitive ways that leave the chocolate with a porous texture. Such chocolates might lose the intended flavor and texture quickly. Besides, poorly tempered chocolate is likely to deteriorate faster, resulting in bloom or even mold growth.
Can Chocolate Syrup Go Bad?
Any chocolate that has added moisture, including syrups and sauces, can go bad. Sure, an unopened bottle of chocolate syrup may go for over a year without going bad. But once opened, and moisture enters it, the syrup starts supporting mold growth.