Aldi potatoes grow white 'hair' after three days: 'Never seen anything like it'

An Aussie woman was shocked to discover a pack of brushed potatoes had grown white hair after being stored for just a handful of days.

A strange fungal growth with spores and mysterious white fur was discovered growing on a collection of potatoes bought from Aldi that had been stored in a container for just three days.

The Brisbane woman who bought the Australian brushed potatoes at the weekend, unpacked and stored them in her usual container but when she went to take them out to cook, got quite the fright.

While putting away the potatoes, she said they “all looked and smelled fine”. “I opened the container on the Monday and that’s how they looked,“ she told Yahoo News Australia.

“I didn’t complain to Aldi as I normally don’t complain about things. But posted pictures as I’d never seen anything like it on potatoes.”

Aldi potatoes covered in white hair.
The potatoes had been stored for three days before being found covered in thick white 'hair'. Source: Facebook

The shopper's photos, which she shared on Facebook, got many people talking – with one social media user describing them as “messed up spuds”, while others said a close-up image of one particularly hairy potato resembled male genitalia.

“I thought this was one of my unhinged mum groups”, a commenter joked, while another added, “I came for the comments. They did not disappoint.”

However, experts in the field were equally as confused by the images.

What fungus is on the Aldi potatoes?

Dr Cameron Jones told Yahoo he could not positively identify what the fungal growth was without sampling it under a microscope.

He suggested there could be two types of mould at play and it was likely the spuds had been subjected to cross-contamination, perhaps from button mushrooms.

“I would expect the fungi mycelium to show branching, which is typical of filamentous bacteria,” he told Yahoo News. “This mycelium (a network of fungal threads) is really luxuriant – that is mainly introduced by high water content which would be consistent with potato consistency.

“The plant tubers, I am really not sure about without looking under a microscope. There is very little branching. It’s likely not to be potato tuber as we have seen these before.”

Jones said the thick white fur or "hair" looked almost feather-like and could indicate cross-contamination with button mushroom spores or another pathogen.

“This is plant-based matter with some fungal infection,” he explained. “It does not look like environmental mould – there are two moulds in here at least.”

Potatoes may still be good to eat

Gerard Murtagh, CEO of Mould Men, told Yahoo: “Mycelium is the white fungus. Warm moist conditions promote it. but it also grows in cool, moist conditions – just slower. Some of the potatoes are probably rotting as well. If the potatoes are not rotting, they are fine to eat after peeling.”

While the mystery of what caused the unusual growth remains unsolved, the photos certainly caused a stir on social media attracting hundreds of reactions and comments.

“That is going to give me nightmares for weeks,” one person wrote.

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