What Causes Mold in a Crock-Pot?

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If your Crockpot has developed a layer or film of mould, or repeatedly grows mould on the foods inside of it, you may be looking at several reasons.

While Crock-Pots have been approved as safe for cooking by the United States Department of Agriculture, the care or storage techniques for yours may be causing harmful moulds to grow.

Enclosed Moisture

Moisture builds inside of the Crockpot as it cooks the foods. This is because the heat from the pot causes the water content, which is in all foods, to evaporate as steam. That steam would escape the pot if it were open, but many recipes call for a closed lid. Once the heat element is shut off, the moisture sits in the pot with the food, creating the perfect environment for mould to grow. Avoid this by removing the lid once the food is cooked and serving the food while it is still hot.

Neglected Leftovers

Leftovers that are stored in a Crockpot rather than an airtight container may develop mould more quickly than those stored properly. Also, leftovers that are left longer than the shelf life of the prepared meal, even if refrigerated, grow mould when they begin to decompose. Refrigerators inhibit the growth of mould during the shelf-life of the food, only when the food is properly contained, but refrigerators are dark and damp, which provides a breeding ground for mould on any foods that begin decomposition.

Improper Care

When you have finished cooking and serving foods that you prepared in your Crockpot, you need to wash the inner basin thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Failure to remove the traces of foods, meat juices and sauces can lead to mould growth; especially when you store the crock pot in a dark cupboard with food still on it. Even on your counter top, mould can grow over foods that you leave out for the night when the heating element is not on. This process happens more quickly during summer months, as warm air can speed the growth of mould.

Improper Storage

If you store your Crockpot when it is not in use for long periods of time, location is key to preventing mould growth. A dry cupboard or storage closet will keep itclean and dry as long as you have washed and dried it before storing it. A damp area, such as a basement or utility room, can expose the pot to added moisture and cause water to accumulate and develop mould.