Have you ever eaten half a sandwich only to realize the bread you’re munching on has mold on it? The feeling is gut-wrenching. Usually, we can’t taste the mold enough to notice as we begin our meal, so we are caught totally off guard when we see the white spots. Unless you ate a lot of mold in one sitting, you probably won’t even experience any negative side effects. However, eating a lot of mold can give you an upset stomach. Depending on the type of mold, it could even cause symptoms similar to those caused by food poisoning, such as fever and vomiting.

When your baby moves on to solid foods, you should start being extra careful about checking for mold on all the food in your house. If he or she eats too much, the symptoms become dangerous because the developing body cannot handle a fever and vomiting very well. When an adult comes down with an illness that causes vomiting, the dehydration will take longer to set in as the body has a larger hydration reserve. When a baby becomes dehydrated, the outcome can be much more serious and even fatal. Believe it or not, if your baby does eat a piece of bread or fruit with a little bit of mold, you might not even notice any symptoms. He or she might have some stomach pain, but the pain will be temporary and subtle. If the side effects do seem severe, visit the pediatrician immediately.

Preventing mold on your baby’s food is as simple as keeping it sealed properly and always throwing expired food away. If you’re questioning whether or not a food is still good, it probably is not. Also, never assume that moldy food is safe after you’ve scraped the visible mold away. Doing so only cleans the surface off, and there are still invisible mold particles growing in the food afterward that could be harmful.

If food is moldy, definitely don’t give it to your toddler or baby knowingly. It is unsanitary and dangerous. However, if you realize that you have accidentally and that he’s munching on a piece of toast with a spot of mold, he’ll probably be just fine. You only need to call the pediatrician if he starts showing signs of illness such as fever or vomiting afterward, as those are clear signs that something is wrong.

Source: William J Meggs et al: Epidemics of Mold Poisoning Past and Present. Toxicology and Industrial Health Volume 25 Issue 9-10 pp. 571-576 November 2009