Why Does Mozzarella Smell Like Fish? (Solved!)

This surely can’t be right, so why does mozzarella smell like fish?

After all, mozzarella doesn’t usually have any kind of smell.

Does the fishy smell mean it’s gone bad?

Can you remove the smell of fish from mozzarella?

Could the cheese have absorbed the smell of fish from somewhere?

Let’s discover the fishy truth about mozzarella!

If mozzarella smells like fish, then the most likely cause is that it has gone bad and is not fit for consumption. Mozzarella should have a very light aroma, with a hint of salt, nothing else. The smell of sour milk is also a sign that the mozzarella needs to be discarded. There is also the possibility that the mozzarella has absorbed the fishy smell from other products in the refrigerator. Once opened, the cheese needs to be tightly wrapped as it easily takes up other odors.   

What Causes Mozzarella to Smell Like Fish?

If your mozzarella smells like fish, then, unfortunately, that’s never a good sign!

In fact, mozzarella has very little odor at all.

Mozzarella is classed as fresh cheese, it has not been aged.

Some people might even say it tastes of nothing, as well!

At most, the mozzarella would have a slightly salty smell.

But that will have come from the brine it is stored in.

So, if your mozzarella has a very distinctive smell, such as fish or sour milk, it means it has gone bad.

Even if you can’t see any obvious signs of mold, don’t be tempted to eat it.

Not all bacteria are visible to the naked eye.

If you do see any mold, don’t cut off that part and assume that the rest of the cheese will be fine.

Typically, it’s fine to do that with a harder cheese such as Cheddar.

But with mozzarella being such a soft cheese, the bacteria will quickly find its way inside.

In fact, you shouldn’t even really take a deep sniff of mozzarella or any other cheese if you suspect it has gone off.

It may have loose bacterial spores, which could go up your nose and cause an upset stomach.

The fish smell is released by the bacteria as it penetrates the cheese and increases in intensity as it takes more hold. 

So, in effect, the bacteria is releasing a gas with an unpleasant smell. 

Can Mozzarella Absorb Odors from Other Food? 

Most cheeses, including mozzarella, can absorb the smell of other foods.

In fact, it’s not just food, cheese can take on the smell and taste of laundry products too.

So, clearly, the storage of your mozzarella is a key issue.

Unopened mozzarella can actually last for up to six months.

But once you open the packet, you introduce air and the possibility of bacterial infection.

And now, the cheese can breathe and absorb any smells from its immediate vicinity.

So, if you have any items in your refrigerator that smell of fish, the mozzarella will soon begin to take up that aroma too.

The key to avoiding this is to either wrap the mozzarella very tightly or keep it in an air-tight container.

But how do you know whether the fish smell is from the cheese going bad or simply from being stored near other food?

Well, that’s down to your own judgment, sorry to say!

Why Does Cheese Stink?

Final Thoughts

Mozzarella cheese should have no aroma other than a hint of salt.

If it smells of fish, this is an indication that the mozzarella has gone bad.

The cheese needs to be thrown away to avoid food poisoning.

However, mozzarella can also absorb odors from other food.

So, always bear in mind the possibility that it has acquired the smell from fish products in the refrigerator.

To avoid bacterial infection and the absorption of other odors, always wrap the mozzarella tightly when opened.

If in doubt, throw it away.

Stay safe and enjoy your mozzarella responsibly!

If you notice another odor, then check out my article on why mozzarella smells like vinegar.

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