What Happens if You Eat Moldy Butter?

Butter is a natural dairy product made of milk proteins, butterfat, and water. The right place to store it is a room temperature to get butter soft. When exposed to contaminants, light, air, and extreme heat, butter becomes susceptible to mold growth.

At this stage, you might wonder if it is safe or not to eat such butter and what happens if you eat moldy butter?

Eating moldy butter might not kill you. However, it can make you sick. It is known to cause gastrointestinal problems such as allergic reactions, vomiting, and nausea. Besides, if you are allergic to mold, you may develop an anaphylactic reaction when you eat moldy butter.

If you realize your butter has developed mold, the best option is to throw it away. Never consume something you are not sure of the effects it will have on your body. It is better to control rather than to treat.

Does butter get moldy?

Mold is commonly known to develop in dairy products like soft foods. Because butter is a dairy product, it is prone to mold growth. But, this is dependent on where you have stored it and the type of butter.

The butter ingredients ratio determines its lifespan. For instance, if your butter has a higher butterfat percentage, it will last longer than the one with low butterfat.

Mainly, mold loves warm and damp environments. Therefore, if your home temperatures are high, the butter will melt and be a breeding place for mold spores. Otherwise, keep your butter well sealed if you want to store it in your fridge.

What type of mold grows on butter?

Several types of mold can grow on butter. The common ones are Stemphylium, Phoma, Hormodendrum, and Alternaria. These types determine the color they form on your butter. Hence, it is wise to know more about them and the color they form on butter.

What color is mold on butter?

If the mold on your butter has vastly spread, it will create an entire appearance. This leads to discoloration of the butter. It can be green, white, black or pink.

Typically, fresh butter has a light yellow color that is evenly distributed. Therefore, any other color on the butter is an indication your butter has mold growth if not going rancid.

How long does it take for mold to grow on butter?

Different factors affect the growth rate of fool on butter. They include the mold type, the ambient humidity, the food it is growing on, and ambient temperature. In the case of butter, it takes 2-3 days for the mold spores to germinate on the butter.

The mold becomes visible after two weeks. If you find this on your butter, the best you can do is to discard the entire butter to avoid food poisoning.

What does mold on butter look like?

Finding mold on butter feels a little distressing. Mold grows on various types of food, and butter is not excluded. But, sometimes, people are unsure what it looks like on butter. Stay here to learn more.

  • Texture

Fresh butter has a different texture from a moldy one. A moldy butter is softer and has a different color from the fresh one. For example, a while mold makes butter have a yellow appearance.

  • Appearance

Mold can take a different appearance on butter. This is dependent on the mold type. For example, it can be pink, green, black, or white. Besides, it can look like slimy patches or fuzzy growth.

  • Taste

Butter with mold has a sour or unpleasant taste. Eating moldy butter can make you vomit or experience nausea. Otherwise, you can have diarrhea upon eating butter that has Penicillium mold.

Furthermore, eating butter with Aspergillus mold is known to cause health issues related to the respiratory system, fever, and headaches.

  • Smell

When your butter has mold, it releases a sour or musty smell. Throwing away such butter is highly recommendable. Otherwise, consuming it can lead to respiratory problems, headache, fever, or diarrhea.

Can butter grow mold?

Unlike other dairy products, the shelter-life of butter is longer because of its high fat and low water content. Nevertheless, it is susceptible to mold growth. If you find out that your butter is growing visible mold, the best way is to throw it away.

Also, mold spores and roots can grow throughout the butter to an extent you cannot spot them. Before the growth of molds on butter, what develops first is rancid. This is what spoils the original taste and quality of the butter.

Can you remove mold from butter?

One of the best ways to avoid throwing away your moldy butter is to remove the affected part by freezing it. But, you have first to cut the visible moldy spots out.

Freezing your butter means any hidden mold spores during the cutting process of the affected areas are killed.

After this, you can thaw out the butter and eat it safely. But don’t use plastic wrap. Also, you can delay the growing mold process by storing the butter in an airtight container or pot.

Can moldy food make you sick?

Some foods are naturally moldy. Hence, eating them brings no harm to your body. A good example is a blue cheese whose appearance and taste are from a mold linked to the strain used to make penicillin. Fungi and mushrooms are an example of moldy foods.

But, if you eat mold from foods that should not be there, the first important thing to do is not panic because you will be well after all. However, this is only possible if you have no adverse symptoms afterward.

In the case of spoiled food, eating mold on food can be risky. Some symptoms developed upon eating such food include elevated temperature, nausea, shortness of breath, or diarrhea.

If you experience this, the best thing you can do is seek medical help immediately. According to USDA, you can also experience respiratory problems and allergic reactions depending on the mold type.

How can I tell if my butter is bad?

Learning that your butter has gone bad can make you feel sad. You can prove me right if you have ever gone to your fridge only to find the butter covered with mold.

At times, people choose to peel out the mold part and eat the butter. But, it is advisable to take your time to find out if it has gone bad before eating it. Luckily, several signs tell whether your butter is good or bad.

The first important sign that butter is good or bad is the color. Your butter is bad if you realize any color other than creamy white. Secondly, you should smell it. A rancid or sour smell is a sign of bad butter that should be thrown away.

Another method you can use to tell if your butter is bad is a taste test. Here, you take a small piece of butter and taste it. If it tastes off, the best thing you can do is throw it away. Moreover, the texture of the butter can tell if it is bad. A butter that deserves to be thrown away is crumbly or has a hard texture.

The last way to tell if your butter is bad is by checking the expiration date on the package. Do not consume it if it has passed the date. You can also throw it away if you are unsure if it is bad.

How long does it take to get sick from mold exposure?

After mold exposure, how it reacts to the body depends on several things. For instance, a time-time exposure to mold can lead to an instant or delayed reaction.

Other people do not develop symptoms at all. Below are some of the significant aspects that determine how long it takes for mold to affect your health after exposure.

  • Mold Amount

This is one of the factors that determines the time it takes to develop symptoms after consuming mold. Typically, eating a large amount of mold will cause more negative effects than small amounts. But, remember, this is always dependent on the body.

Some people might not even experience symptoms when exposed to a small amount of mold. However, those with bodies susceptible to mold develop symptoms immediately after exposure to a small mold amount.

  • Sensitivities and Allergies

Your mold sensitivity influences how fast you can develop symptoms upon consumption. For instance, if you are allergic to mold, exposure to it makes your immune system think they are allergens or invaders.

As such, if you inhale the spores, the body acts fast by triggering nasal congestion or sneezing. A person who is not mold-allergic might not develop symptoms when exposed to it.

  • Proximity to Mold

Your nearness to the mold can determine how long it takes to be sick. For instance, handling mold directly can make you develop symptoms fast. This is mainly possible when touching or cleaning moldy items. If you are highly sensitive or allergic to mold, try to avoid direct contact with it as much as possible.

  • Exposure Duration

Even though we said, one-time exposure to mold might not have great negative impacts, the duration of exposure matters. The longer you are exposed, the more spores you will inhale. Otherwise, a few seconds of exposure may not cause any symptoms. Besides, this relies on your sensitivity level.


It is our great hope the above guide gives you the answer to what happens if you eat moldy butter. In addition, you have learned how to determine if your butter is fresh or moldy. When only a part of the butter has mold, you can choose to remove it carefully, freeze it and then eat it.

However, if you are not sure how it is done, it is wise to throw it away. Otherwise, eating it might cause you to develop health symptoms that are not good.

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