red mold on bread

The Truth About Red Mold On Bread

Bread is a good food source for mold because it is high in carbohydrates and moisture.

The warm, damp environment inside a bread bag or container also promotes the growth of mold. 

Different types of mold, varying in color, size, and texture, can grow on your bread.

And when these spores show up on your bread in its red color, you may wonder if it’s still safe to eat. 

In this article, you will learn about red mold on bread and what you can do when it appears on your bread.

Red Mold on Bread And Its Causes

Red mold on bread is a type of Ascomycete fungal growth that appears as a red or pinkish color on the surface of the bread.

The appearance of red mold on bread can be an indication that the bread has been exposed to moisture or humid conditions, providing a suitable environment for mold growth.

Storing bread in damp or humid environments, or failing to seal it properly, increases its susceptibility to mold growth.

Scientific Name of Red Mold on Bread

Neurospora is the scientific name of red mold on bread. It comes under species of crassa.

Neurospora crassa is a fungus that typically grows as a network of branching, thread-like hyphae. It serves as a model organism for understanding fundamental biological processes.

Also, the genome of Neurospora crassa has been fully sequenced, providing valuable insights in scientific investigations.

What does it mean when mold turns red?

When mold turns red, it means the spores have been released and are now airborne.

Is red mold on bread harmful?

red mold on bread

The answer is yes. A mold of any color can be harmful if ingested, as it can produce toxins that cause illness. 

Red mold is no exception, and it is generally recommended to avoid consuming bread or any other food that is contaminated with mold. 

In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends discarding bread with mold.

This is because its microscopic fungi can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems in some people. 

If you find red mold on bread, it is best to discard it to avoid the risk of illness. 

What happens if you eat red mold on bread?

The effect of mold on an individual depends on the amount of mold they eat, the individual’s age, health, and allergies. 

For some people, eating bread that has been contaminated by red mold can have little to no effect, especially if they’re in good health.

Meanwhile, others could get allergic reactions or experience digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

It may also cause respiratory problems, such as coughing, sneezing, and difficulty in breathing.

In some severe cases, eating red mold on bread can lead to more serious health issues such as infections.

What should you do if you mistakenly ate mold?

Simple first aid treatments if you ingested mold include the following: 

1. First, provoke a gag reflex: this will help clear your stomach of further exposure to the toxins released by the fungus. 

2. Secondly, drink water in large quantities: this helps to speed up the work of the kidneys, which would cause the remains of the fungus to leave your system quickly. 

In addition, digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur after consuming mold.

But, in most cases, these symptoms will resolve on their own within a few days.

However, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, it is important to contact your healthcare provider. 

Also, if you have ingested a large amount of mold or you have a weakened immune system, it is especially important you seek medical attention right away. 

Types of mold on bread 

The carbohydrates and moisture present in bread make it a good food source for mold.

And you can identify bread with mold easily by its color, size, and texture. 

That said, here are the types of mold that can grow on bread:

1. Aspergillus

This is a common type of bread mold and is often found in damp, warm environments.

Aspergillus mold grows as fuzzy patches on bread and varies in color but they often appear as yellow or light green.

These molds produce mycotoxins that can cause respiratory problems in humans.

2. Penicillium

This type of mold is often lightly colored, tending to be white, gray, blue, or green.

This bread mold grows in colder temperatures and you can find it on bread stored in the refrigerator.

If left to grow, it can prove to be quite fatal when consumed regularly or in large quantities.

3. Rhizopus

This mold on bread is characterized by its black, fuzzy appearance.

It’s a very common mold that grows on bread and is also known as ‘black bread mold’.

This mold grows in circular patches and expands quickly. It is capable of producing toxins that can be harmful to humans if ingested.

4. Cladosporium

This bread mold can be identified on bread as large and round mold spots that appear fairly smooth.

It often grows in damp, humid environments and tends to have a fairly strong odor. 

Cladosporium is darkly colored, from dark green to black.

The strong odor of this mold on bread makes it more prone to cause allergic reactions in people with mold allergies.

5. Neurospora

This mold on bread has a pinkish-red color. It is commonly found in humid and warm environments.

When bread gets contaminated by red mold it is capable of causing allergic reactions in people.

How to Prevent Red Mold on Bread

Following tips can be helpful to prevent red mold from forming on bread

Proper Storage: Store bread in a dry and cool place. Try to avoid storing bread in humid or damp areas.

Seal Packaging: Make sure the bread’s packaging is properly sealed after each use.

Use Bread Box: Use a bread box if available to store bread. Bread boxes can provide a controlled environment that helps keep bread fresh and mold-free.

Clean Storage Area: Regularly clean and dry the area where bread in stored. This prevents the buildup of moisture that can contribute to mold growth.

Frequent Consumption: Try to finish the bread within a reasonable time frame. Fresh bread is less likely to develop mold.

More related questions

Is red mold toxic?

Red mold is less dangerous than other types of mold.

However, in some cases; mycotoxins which are harmful might be present alongside it.

Therefore, when identified, red mold should be treated with the same caution as other mold and not be ingested. 

What color mold is toxic?

Black mold is widely considered toxic.

This is because Stachybotrys Chartarum mold is black in color.

Also, the mycotoxins that these mold species produce can cause the lungs to bleed, which is fatal for infants and animals.

Is red mold worse than black mold?

No, red mold is not worse than black mold.

Black mold is considered one of the more dangerous types of mold. And the toxins it produces tend to be more harmful than other mold types. 

Can pink mold make you sick?

Yes, pink mold can make you sick.

Pink mold is often a type of mold called Fusarium which can produce toxins that are harmful to humans if ingested.

What is bread mold commonly known as?

Bread mold is commonly known as “Rhizopus stolonifer” .

It is a type of fungus that can grow on bread and other food products when they become moist and are left open.

Is it safe to eat moldy bread if you microwave / toast / fry the mold “to death” ?

Consuming moldy bread, even after microwaving, toasting, or frying, is not recommended.

It’s safer to discard moldy bread and opt for fresh, uncontaminated alternatives to avoid potential adverse effects on your health.


Like every other mold, red mold should not be ingested.

Once you identify it on bread or any other food, it’s better to thrash the food out immediately. 

As said before, the effects red mold will have on you will depend on your immune system and age. And this reaction varies from person to person.

To avoid experiencing the health problems associated with mold consumption, it is better not to eat foods contaminated with mold.

Also, ensure you maintain good hygiene and preserve food items properly to prevent the growth of mold.