Doctor explains why bizarre 'spores' on chocolates are safe to eat - despite odd appearance

Chocolate bars heap. Close-up.
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A doctor has shed light on the mysterious 'spores' that appear on old chocolate, clarifying that they are not mould.

Chocolate is a popular gift for occasions like Christmas, Easter, or birthdays. However, if it's not eaten quickly, you might find yourself with an excess that looks less tempting as time goes by.

Dr Karan Rajan, a lecturer at Sunderland University and an NHS professional, has confirmed that eating aged chocolate is completely safe, even if it appears to have a strange texture. He illustrated this point by posting a video on Instagram of a mini Easter egg with an unusual interior appearance.

The inside of the egg resembled frogspawn, featuring small circles that were lighter and whiter than the surrounding caramel-coloured chocolate. On Instagram, he posed the question (@drkaranrajan): "If your chocolate looks like this, should you throw it away? ".

He reassured his followers: "...Chocolate that looks like this is very safe to eat, but it might have a slightly different taste and maybe slightly less delicious."

Dr Rajan explained that this odd chocolate condition could be due to 'sugar bloom,' which occurs when chocolate is exposed to moisture. Even a tiny amount of water can cause sugar to dissolve and then recrystallise as the moisture evaporates, leading to the formation of white grains on the surface of the chocolate, altering its texture permanently.

He elaborated: "Another possible explanation for this is fat bloom. This occurs when the cocoa butter in the chocolate - the fatty component - melts when exposed to higher temperatures. Eventually, when the chocolate cools down again, the fat will also recrystallise but again in a different form. So, this time you'll get a whitish layer on the chocolate surface."

Dr Rajan also highlighted that it's unlikely to be insect eggs because creepy crawlies generally prefer perishable foods, like fruit and vegetables. He explained: "They are less likely to be attracted to things like chocolate which usually have preservatives added to them."

"...All chocolate, if left long enough, will probably develop fat or sugar bloom. So, my advice would be, when you get your chocolate eat it quickly for science of course."

The NHS professional's insights quickly garnered a lot of attention on Instagram, with many still reluctant to eat older chocolate despite his explanations. One user commented: "Still going to bin it," while another added: "That picture setting off anyone else's trypophobia? ".

Another person shared their experience: "I had peanut butter jar with white chocolate such cream spread I didn't even open it for long time then I finally opened and surface looked exactly like in this first video, I thought its mould, I wrote to company to ask if this is still safe to eat, and they explained to me everything just like this guy in video."