Mold is a naturally-occurring organism that thrives in wet, warm environments. Most homes have at least a few types of mold in certain areas of the house, including walls, bathrooms, and food storage areas.
Mold is a prepper’s worst enemy; as the spores can quickly ruin all stored foods in your stockpile. Even seemingly mold-immune goods, like grains, flour, dried vegetables, and other dry goods can accumulate mold if not stored properly. When food gets moldy, the only option is to throw it out. If you want to ensure your dry good stay mold-free, take the following steps to discourage mold growth.
Preventing Mold Growth in Dry Goods
Luckily, preventing mold growth in dry goods is easy. Simply keep your dry goods in an environment that is unfriendly to mold growth. How can you do this? Follow these simple rules:
- Store your dry goods in airtight containers.
- Do not allow moisture into the containers.
- Always use a dry scoop to remove dry goods, and never take the main container into the kitchen to prevent mold spores from entering the container.
- Keep your containers in a dry, slightly hot environment. This will inhibit mold growth.
- Allow enough space between containers for air circulation: Proper ventilation is a simple way to prevent the spread of mold.
How to Identify Mold in Dry Goods
Each time you use your stockpile of dry goods, check the item for signs of mold. Smell the food. If you notice a moldy smell or a smell that seems “off,” it is probable that you have mold growth, even if you cannot see any visible spores. Inspect the dry goods for signs of mold infestation – look for black spots and moist patches in the container. If you see signs of mold on something, throw it away so the mold doesn’t spread.
The Most Dangerous Molds
Although there are millions of mold types, there are only a few that are toxic to humans. The most toxic molds to humans are Stachbotry, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Fusarium.
- Stachbotrys: This is the most toxic mold. It can cause symptoms as mild as hay fever to as serious as liver damage, brain damage, and death. Stachbotry is the dangerous “black mold” that is often present in older houses. The mold looks like patches of black spots. It is extremely rare to find this kind of mold in stored dried goods.
- Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Fusarium: These three molds cause problems like asthma, lung damage, and kidney damage. It can also cause gastrointestinal illnesses. These molds can range in color from green, to brown, to black, and typically have a chain-like shape. This form of mold is also unlikely to appear in dry goods.
- Aspergillus: The Aspergillus mold is the most common type that can appear in dry goods. Although there are over 160 species in this mold family, only 16 will cause health problems. Usually, the illnesses are related to breathing problems and cold-like symptoms. Dry goods with a high starch content are most likely to grow Aspergillus spores. The mold looks like typically bread mold, with fuzzy spores in varying colors of green and grey.
Eliminating Mold in Your Stockpile
Although mold growth in dry goods is rare, it is important to take proper steps to prevent the spread of mold in your prepper storehouse. Keeping things dry and aerated is the best way to accomplish this task. If you do suspect a mold invasion, take immediate steps to clean the mold (disinfect with bleach or vinegar) and discard any foods contaminated by mold.
How do you prevent mold growth in your pantry?