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Our son (18) suffers from cystic fibrosis and allergic aspergillosis. The following questions lead to discussions many times:

1. Can cheese which is refined with molds (e.g., blue cheese) be recommended for a CF individual?

2. Is the mold which covers older cheeses, refined with molds, more likely to be toxic or can this surface mold be considered as being suitable for consumption?

Martina Kennel-Haas
Dear questioner,

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is caused generally by the mold Aspergillus fumigatus and, rarely, by other Aspergillus spp.

To your first question:

Aspergillus is an ubiquitous mold with worldwide distribution, and can be found for instance in air, basements and some food. The mold produces toxins and therefore is a pathogen. Thus, it cannot be used in the food industry. CF individuals may eat blue cheese. For the preparation of blue cheeese, other non-pathogenic molds such as Penicillium species are used (i.e. Penicillium roquefortii).

To your second question:

Undoubtedly, Penicillium roquefortii and other non-pathogenic molds used for the preparation of the blue cheese can grow a little bit, which is regarded as unrisky, as answered in question 1. However, if other molds from the environment grow on the blue cheese which can easily be detected by the other structur and colour of the cheese, such a cheese should not be eaten by anyone, but rather be discarded into the trash.

Hoping that this helps

Sincerely yours

Prof. Dr. Gerd Döring and Nanna Siegmann.