Can Beef Jerky Mold? (And Is It Safe to Eat Moldy Jerky?)

If something is widely known about jerky, it is that it can be stored for a really long time and still be eatable. Actually, that is the most important thing about jerky and the reason humankind even started to make this awesome snack. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that jerky is mold-proof, right? Well, not really.

So Can Beef Jerky Mold? Believe it or not, beef jerky can mold and it can happen pretty quickly, too. There are numerous ways to prevent that, though, and if you do what you should, you don’t need to worry. 

So what exactly should you do? And what is the reason jerky gets moldy? And is it risky to eat jerky that has a mold on it? To answer these and even more questions is exactly the goal of this article, so let’s get started!

Can Beef Jerky MoldPin

Can jerky get moldy?

Jerky is meat processed in a way that removes the absolute majority of moisture from it. That gives jerky a unique ability not to spoil for a long, long time. That definitely doesn’t mean that it can’t go bad, though – besides many other things, jerky can even get moldy. 

And even though this isn’t much likely to happen, it isn’t as rare as you may think, either. What should you do so that won’t happen then? Be patient, we’re getting there.

Can you eat jerky with mold?

But firstly, let’s talk about the situation when your jerky has already gotten moldy. As you probably already know, when a mold starts to grow on your jerky, you should immediately throw it all away.

Even though some people will tell you that it is okay to eat moldy beef jerky or that it is enough to cut the moldy parts off, eating it is simply a health hazard.

I ate jerky with mold – what should I do?

But what if you already did that, maybe because you didn’t even notice it was moldy in the first place? Well, you don’t need to worry about anything serious happening, to be honest, it actually is most likely that nothing at all’s going to happen.

But some of the classic symptoms of food poisoning, like vomiting or having nausea, diarrhea, and stomach ache, may occur. So if you’re feeling it’s too bad, don’t hesitate and call your doctor.

What does mold on jerky look like?

Mold on jerky looks a lot like mold on any other food; that means you should look for colorful (primarily white and green), disgustingly looking stains. While we’re talking about jerky, though, it is highly possible that there’ll be white stains (and they may look hideously as well) that aren’t a mold. But we yet have to get into that.

How do you keep beef jerky from getting moldy?

Before that, let’s talk about how to prevent your jerky from getting moldy so that you won’t have to be worrying whether that stain is or isn’t mold at all. So what can you do?

The easiest thing is not to buy/make moist jerky because the moisture makes beef jerky go moldy. If you like your jerky moist, though, don’t be sad, there are other options as well.

That is because not even moist jerky will go moldy as long as you don’t let oxygen react with it – mold simply can’t grow when there is no oxygen. Therefore, vacuum pack your jerky (you can also put it into a fridge for even better results), and you should be good. 

Green mold on beef jerky – is that okay?

And let’s check the green mold quickly, too, before talking about the white stuff, shall we? If you see green stains on your beef jerky, you can be sure it is a mold. Therefore, you shouldn’t be eating any of the jerky because it can make you sick.

Why is there white stuff on my beef jerky?

But it is more complicated with the white stains, and we’ve already touched that a bit. So what can the white stuff on your beef jerky be? There are basically three options – besides the mold, it can also be salt and fat.

Telling those three apart may be challenging, but it is doable. If the stains look like spider webs, then it is mold. On the other hand, the fat stains look solid, like one whole. And lastly, if the stains are powdery, it is salt.

How can you tell if beef jerky has gone bad?

Because there are a lot of things on beef jerky that can be mistaken for mold (as we’ve explained in the paragraph above), and more importantly, because beef jerky usually goes bad before it actually starts to grow mold, you can’t tell whether it has gone bad just by looking it. 

Therefore, it is smarter to rely on your smell – the easiest way to tell whether your jerky is still good is simply by taking a good sniff.


As weird as it may sound, beef jerky can mold. And it isn’t happening too rarely, either. The reason for that is that many people don’t understand how much moisture has to be dried out of the meat while dehydrating it or don’t store the store-bought moist jerky properly.

To assure that your jerky won’t go moldy, you must keep it vacuum-sealed because any mold needs oxygen to grow. 

If your jerky has already gone moldy, don’t risk and throw it away. It’s always better to waste a bit of possibly eatable food than have health problems.



Image credits – Canva

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