Moldy berry in the container: Is it safe?

Strawberries are seen at a stand in Brussels, Belgium on October 11, 2022. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Mayo Clinic is providing some insight into a question many people have had: If there's one moldy berry in a container, does it spoil the bunch?

The Rochester, Minnesota-based hospital published on Thursday a Mayo Clinic Minute with Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious disease expert, to answer the question.

Simply put, if a few berries develop some mold, which typically looks like cotton or fuzz, it doesn't mean you have to throw out the whole container, according to Rajapakse. You should just throw out the berries that are visibly moldy and any berries that may have been in direct contact with those moldy berries. 

Mold tends to thrive in areas where there's a lot of moisture and organic material, so berries are the perfect place for mold to grow, the Mayo Clinic Minute states.

"If more than about a quarter of the berries are moldy, you're probably best off getting rid of all of those berries. But, if the rest are looking healthy, they're not bruised, they're not soft and there's no visible mold on them, they're probably OK to eat after you've washed them well," she said in the Mayo Clinic Minute. 

There's no need to worry if you notice a berry is moldy after you've started eating it — you're unlikely to get sick if you eat a small amount of mold, Rajapakse explains. There's a chance you could develop some digestive issues, such as a stomachache, nausea or vomiting, but that's uncommon unless you've eaten a lot of mold.

Rajapakse also provides a tip to help keep your berries fresh for longer: rinse them with vinegar and water, then store them on a dry paper towel in an open container inside your refrigerator.