Dr James Schaller
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Eat Your Fruits Fresh
Do Not Pass Down to Your Ancestors

You have purchased some fresh fruit. You expect your family "tribe" will eat it quickly. They do not eat it promptly, and you start to notice some mold on the fruit. What do you do? Make a fruit soup? Use it for preserves? Toss it?

The study below took 251 fruit samples and let them sit at room temperature for a maximum of 14 days. They cleaned the fruit first, to remove any significant mold spores. The article shows that many forms of mold can appear on decaying fruit in 14 days or less. Perhaps after ten days many fruits are better tossed out. I have had a rare mold sensitive patient mention they had a meal that gave them mold-type symptoms. Perhaps this is one cause for this experience.

One mold expert told me he thinks peeling might be one option that might allow you to enjoy your fruit longer.

Mould and yeast flora in fresh berries, grapes and citrus fruits.

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740, USA.

Fresh fruits are prone to fungal contamination in the field, during harvest, transport, marketing, and with the consumer. It is important to identify fungal contaminants in fresh fruits because some moulds can grow and produce mycotoxins on these commodities while certain yeasts and moulds can cause infections or allergies. In this study, 251 fresh fruit samples including several varieties of grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and various citrus fruits were surface-disinfected, incubated at room temperature for up to 14 days without supplemental media, and subsequently examined for mould and yeast growth. The level of contamination (percent of contaminated items/sample) varied depending on the type of fruit. All raspberry and blackberry samples were contaminated at levels ranging from 33% to 100%, whereas 95% of the blueberry samples supported mould growth at levels between 10% and 100% of the tested berries, and 97% of strawberry samples showed fungal growth on 33-100% of tested berries. The most common moulds isolated from these commodities were Botrytis cinerea, Rhizopus (in strawberries), Alternaria, Penicillium, Cladosporium and Fusarium followed by yeasts, Trichoderma and Aureobasidium. Thirty-five percent of the grape samples tested were contaminated and supported fungal growth; the levels of contamination ranged from 9% to 80%. The most common fungi spoiling grapes were Alternaria, B. cinerea and Cladosporium. Eighty-three percent of the citrus fruit samples showed fungal growth at levels ranging from 25% to 100% of tested fruits. The most common fungi in citrus fruits were Alternaria, Cladosporium, Penicillium, Fusarium and yeasts. Less common were Trichoderma, Geotrichum and Rhizopus.

[All bolding is from Dr. Schaller]

Tournas VH, Katsoudas E. Int J Food Microbiol. 2005 Jul 12;

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