A lump of Jamon in my fridge grew some white mold. Is it safe to eat if I scrape all the mold away?

Edit: this is white mold, of the sort that grows on Camambert cheese, or so it appears. Not green or black mold.

7 Answers 7


Only for your information. The spanish ham can get moldy every time, because the curing process will not stop. And for sure you can eat after cleaning with oil. All this ham have mould but before it is sold they also clean it with oil or fat. Mostly the customer don't see it, but sometimes because of the humidity or if it is hot it can appear again, but it is not a problem for health (it is exactly the same as with the cheese.

  • 4
    "Mold: A thin layer of mold may appear on whole hams. This penicillin-like mold is completely harmless. It can be removed with a clean, damp cloth or with a cloth and olive oil...White film: This may be seen on the cut surface of whole or boneless hams. Simply slice off the section with the film and discard the discolored slice."- LaTienda, Purveyor of Spanish Foods +1 for setting us straight
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 22:17

Dry curing pork relies on developing specific moulds, and they need to be kept in a cool environment. If you live somewhere hot, of course put it in the fridge! How do you think people produce air-dried hams through summer or in warm environments?

Cured meat is easy to identify as having gone off as it will either smell bad, or start developing either green or black mould, in which case chuck it.

Lucky you. You've got gorgeous Spainish Jamon and I'm envious. Smell it, if it smells fine, cut the mould off and enjoy.

  • If you refrigerate the ham it will rot. The ideal temp is 15 or 20ºC. Colder are more humid is worse than warmer and drier in this particular case.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 14:33
  • Unfortunately, I live in Tel Aviv which is both humid and hot. 35 C + 80% humidity is not uncommon for July. Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 15:58
  • Well, you bought your ham in the wrong season. Refrigerate it, clean the white mold and eat it fast.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 19:06
  • There has to be an irony here about ham ב–תײַב. Oh well, בתאבון!
    – bmargulies
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 22:21
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    I've made air-dried ham for a few years now, both outside over autumn and winter, and at other times of year doing the whole process in a seperate chiller. I don't understand your comment about refridgeration causing rotting. Have you had experience with that?? Vinko's right though, you should eat it.
    – nunu
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 4:42

If you're referring to the dried ham Jamón , then I'd say no. As a general rule if any meat has gone far enough for anything out of the ordinary to grow on it, I throw it out. For every bit of nast' that you see, there are probably 10 million more that you don't.

Cheese, on the other hand, I cut moldy pieces off all the time.

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    The mold is normal on Jamon. It's penicillin mold; it's harmless and part of the process.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 22:19

I don't know about if it's safe or not, but what I can tell you (if indeed we are talking about dry-cured ham) that for it to grow mold you had to have handled it improperly.

Cured ham should never be refrigerated (most common cause for mold to grow on it), stored in plastic wrap, or anything that bumps up humidity or lowers a lot temperature.

If you live in a hot country, buy smaller amounts and store it in the coolest non refrigerated place you have in your house. Hot temperatures will make it dry faster, but it won't grow mold or otherwise get corrupted. If at all possible, hang it instead of placing it on a plate or shelf.

  • Thing is, I bought it in Barcelona. Where I live you can't get proper dry-cured ham. And yes, I live in a hot country. Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 6:13
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    Thing is, you cannot refrigerate it or it happens what happened to you, no matter what the circumstances are, the ham will not think 'oh, I'll not grow mold because poor Electric Monk went all the way to Barcelona to buy me!' :-) Anyway, while you decide if you'll eat the rest or throw it out, cut the mold and take it out of the fridge, ASAP.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 7:01
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    BTW, according to this cocina.comohacerpara.com/n2089/… you can wash the ham with a salt and water mix and it'll be ready for eating. Here eljamon.com/espa%C3%B1ol/cerdoblanco.htm, it says that in a big quantity it's not advisable to eat, but else you can clean it up with oil or with water, as long as we are talking about a whole leg, not slices.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 7:08
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    Finally, if I went on a trip and loved ham with a passion, I'd personally risk a test after a clean, I might not get sick after all. Not saying that you should do the same :-). At least from the bit of searching I've done, most mention that white mold on a leg just needs cleaning with oil or water, as long as it's not excessive.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 7:51

@Daniel. No way!! mold is a natural ocurrence in spanish ham and others cure meats, cured with natural methods and no harmful preservatives. Just whip it with a mix of olive oil and a little salt and it is perfectly safe to eat.

  • I doubt that any mold is OK to eat, so a bit more specific answer would be welcome. Please note that you are answering a 7 year old question, so any answer this late would really have to contribute something new - especially since the answers here contradict each other.
    – user34961
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 19:07

There's no need to throw it out, that mold is part of the natural ongoing curing process. Just wipe the mold away with virgin olive oil and chop on.


No. Toss it. Yes, i know, this hurts. But the thing is, molds are not entirely identifiable by visual means. And contamination of one part means the whole thing has spores on it, they just haven't grown enough to be visible. Some molds are highly toxic. As gorgeous as Spanish jamon can be, and especially if this is the luscious jamon Iberico, it really isn't worth the risk. Toss it and move on, Sorry.

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    Thing is, many Jamon-related sites say that for Jamon to develop a layer of mold us quite natural and completely harmless... Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 10:33
  • That may be the case @Electric Monk, but I still will never advise someone to eat moldy meat.
    – hobodave
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 17:07
  • There's a difference between mold on the grease-skin layer and mold in the meat. A normal refrigerator should be more than dry enough. A good way to store it if you only have a lump or slices is wrapped on kitchen paper. Never wrap it with plastic film. Another problem could be excessively moist ham. If touching it feels anything like touching raw meat you should get a better cured piece next time.
    – user143
    Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 8:19

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