who likes pancakes? beware!

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  #1  
Old 04-26-06, 10:47 AM
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Exclamation who likes pancakes? beware!

this is a little scary! i saw this in a recent Dear Abby column and thought it was worth repeating here:

DEAR ABBY: I recently made a batch of pancakes for my healthy 14-year-old son, using a mix that was in our pantry. He said that they tasted "funny," but ate them anyway. About 10 minutes later, he began having difficulty breathing and his lips began turning purple. I gave him his allergy pill, had him sit on the sofa and told him to relax. He was wheezing while inhaling and exhaling.
My husband, a volunteer firefighter and EMT, heated up some water, and we had my son lean over the water so the steam could clear his chest and sinuses. Soon, his breathing became more regular and his lips returned to a more normal color.

We checked the date on the box of pancake mix and, to my dismay, found it was very outdated. As a reference librarian at an academic institution, I have the ability to search through many research databases. I did just that, and found an article the next day that mentioned a 19-year-old male DYING after eating pancakes made with outdated mix. Apparently, the mold that forms in old pancake mix can be toxic!

When we told our friends about my son's close call, we were surprised at the number of people who mentioned that they should check their own pancake mix since they don't use it often, or they had purchased it some time ago. With so many people shopping at warehouse-type stores and buying large sizes of pancake mix, I hope your readers will take the time to check the expiration date on their boxes. -- SUE IN WYANTSKILL, N.Y.

DEAR SUE: Thank you for the warning. I certainly was not aware that pancake mix could turn moldy and cause an allergic reaction in someone with an allergy to mold -- but it's logical. I wonder if the same holds true for cake mix, brownie mix and cookie mix. If so, then a warning should be placed on the box for people like me.
i had never heard of dry goods going bad (except for maybe flour getting weevils, etc.) and i, for one, had an incredibly old box of pancake mix in my pantry!! so everyone, go & check your pancake mix RIGHT NOW!!!!!

hope this helps at least one person avoid this reaction!!!

(CREDIT: quote taken from uexpress.com/dearabby)
 
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Old 04-26-06, 11:10 AM
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Wow...thanks Annette for the info! (I just fed my son pancakes this morning too...). Other than the pancake mixes and flour, etc. did you know canned goods expire too? Maybe I'm just dumb but I just realized that this year. I was always stocking up on canned goods for those "just in case" or "emergency" times and when I finally wanted to make something using the canned food, I saw an expiration date. I had to toss so man cans (and jars) of stuff.
 
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Old 04-26-06, 11:12 AM
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um...yeah - cans have expiration dates on them ~ der! (just kidding! ) you really never noticed them before??

but the deal here is, boxes of dry goods don't! so.....how would you know it'd gone bad??? no expiration date implies that it's good forever! i think that's awful that there aren't expiration dates on those items if it's possible for them to become moldy! yuck! maybe now there will be? i hope so!
 
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Old 04-26-06, 11:25 AM
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oooh! No expiration dates on the box??? Hmmm...! Now I'm curious...not that I don't trust you but I'm going to check out my pancake box when I get home!

Do you think putting a big zip lock bag around it or stick it in sealed container would help it from getting mold? Or is there just no way of avoiding the mold...?
 
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Old 04-26-06, 11:29 AM
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wait a minute! now i'm confused! (der!) i re-read the letter and she does say
We checked the date on the box of pancake mix and, to my dismay, found it was very outdated.
so i guess there IS a date??? hmmmm.......
 

Last edited by Annette; 04-26-06 at 12:00 PM.
  #6  
Old 04-26-06, 11:59 AM
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so then no offense to the people in the article...but, der! Stop feeding or eating things that are expired....?!...or outdated? Are those 2 words the same meaning? Hmmmm....
 
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Old 04-26-06, 12:15 PM
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okay - someone reading this from home: please go & look on your box of Bisquick and see if there's an expiration date printed on there somewhere!!!!

i think it's amazing how often we think or say "hmm...these taste funny" and then keep on eating it anyway!!! why do we do that?? i guess, for most of us, it's the mindset of not wanting to waste something that's [almost] perfectly good. but at the risk of food poisoning, is that good decision making?? we should really listen to our instincts more!
 
  #8  
Old 04-26-06, 12:23 PM
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Writing date you purchase canned and packaged goods and spices on container is helpful in keeping track of shelf life. Packaged pancake mix, unopened, typically has a shelf life of 6-9 months depending on manufacturer. To be sure, contact the customer service number on the package. Opened packages have a shorter shelf life and should probably be used within two to three months. Freezing dried mixes can extend use-by date.

Canned goods typically should be used within 12 months. Some manufacturers may recommend 24-36 months. The mysterious numbers stamped on cans are encoded numbers specific to individual manufacturers and are typically meaningless to consumers. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer. Quality tends to deteriorate over time. 'Best if used by' date usually refers to quality rather than safety. The U.S.D.A.'s general guideline is to use high-acid canned food (fruits, tomatoes and pickled products) in 18 to 24 months, and low-acid (meats and vegetables) in two to five years. Acidic foods in glass jars tend to have a longer shelf life because they eventually interact with metal cans. Again, if in doubt, contact the manufacturer.

Overstocking of pantries is not recommended. Most consumers live within a short distance of a grocery where food can be purchased on an as-needed basis. Unopened packages and canned foods can be passed on to local food banks prior to expiration date so they do not have to be discarded. Overstocking of grain products can often lead to pantry pest infestation.
 
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Old 04-26-06, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by twelvepole
Freezing dried mixes can extend use-by date.
yes! and it keeps the potential bugs away! we keep as much stuff as possible in our fridge and freezer.
 
  #10  
Old 04-26-06, 02:29 PM
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other than the dear abby article, i can only find the one referenced article:

http://www.amjforensicmedicine.com/pt/re/ajfmp/abstract.00000433-200109000-00019.htm;jsessionid=EPnh4J2stbeIsAaDrlxKFSqdOkTXa1T3RgTd2tnc5eNV7teZoJEp!389595325!-949856144!9001!-1
As i read it, it's not common, and wouldn't affect most people.

An Unusual Case of Anaphylaxis: Mold in Pancake Mix.
American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 22(3):292-295, September 2001.
Bennett, Allan T. M.D.; Collins, Kim A. M.D.

Abstract:
Anaphylactic reactions involve contact with an antigen that evokes an immune reaction that is harmful. This type of reaction is a rapidly developing immunologic reaction termed a type I hypersensitivity reaction. The antigen complexes with an IgE antibody that is bound to mast cells and basophils in a previously sensitized individual. Upon re-exposure, vasoactive and spasmogenic substances are released that act on vessels and smooth muscle. The reaction can be local or systemic and may be fatal.

The authors report the death of a 19-year-old white male who had a history of "multiple allergies," including pets, molds, and penicillin. One morning, he and his friends made pancakes with a packaged mix that had been opened and in the cabinet for approximately 2 years. The friends stopped eating the pancakes because they said that they tasted like "rubbing alcohol." The decedent continued to eat the pancakes and suddenly became short of breath. He was taken to a nearby clinic, where he became unresponsive and died. At autopsy, laryngeal edema and hyperinflated lungs with mucous plugging were identified. Microscopically, edema and numerous degranulating mast cells were identified in the larynx. The smaller airways contained mucus, and findings of chronic asthma were noted. Serum tryptase was elevated at 14.0 ng/ml. The pancake mix was analyzed and found to contain a total mold count of 700/g of mix as follows:Penicillium, Fusarium, Mucor, and Aspergillus. Witness statements indicate that the decedent ate two pancakes; thus he consumed an approximate mold count of 21,000. The decedent had a history of allergies to molds and penicillin, and thus was allergic to the molds in the pancake mix. The authors present this unusual case of anaphylaxis and a review of the literature.

(C) 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
 
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Old 04-26-06, 02:46 PM
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thanks for the link! interesting. if only his friends knew to give him Benedryl right away, he might've been saved.

i'm sure it's not terribly common, at all, as there are several specific factors that would have to come together: you'd have to have a person who happens to be REALLY allergic to mold, and who just happened to have eaten a lot of pancakes which happened to be made from an old mix that had gotten moldy. the chances of all those elements coming together would be rare, but still......very possible.

my brother is very allergic to mold, grass, dust, pollen, etc and loves pancakes and can & does eat a lot of them in one sitting......but his pancake mix probably doesn't sit around long enough for it to get moldy! (or maybe he gets the handy frozen ones like i do!)

it seems like a freaky unique won't-ever-happen kind of thing, but i think pancake/biscuit mix is a common enough food item that many people have in their cupboards, and for many it's probably a "once in a blue moon" item to fix, so therefore it sits there for quite some time. who knew a dry mix could get moldy?

it's been several years ago that i threw away our box of Bisquick, and i'm sure it was at least 5 years old when i tossed it. 5 YEARS!!! it was one of the things i bought right after my husband & i got married to "stock" our new kitchen. 5 years later, i realized i'd never used it (or maybe only once) so i tossed it. good thing!
 
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Old 04-27-06, 01:31 AM
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lesson: Buy Eggos
 
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Old 05-02-06, 12:57 PM
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...or eat more pancakes

Boy, the mix can never sit around long enough for that to happen around here
We love 'em
I'll be double sure to check them though
I'm sure dating the box when opened would help
 
  #14  
Old 05-13-06, 10:48 AM
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Talking Hello Chicken Little

The sky is not falling.. Why not throw all pancake mix out. I mean come on Mold doesn't look to see if the mix is outdated or not before it says Hey let's go in this box it's outdated... Hello.. and even if mold was there it doesn't mean you or any of you family would be affected... Are you allergic to it. First and foremost if you make something and it taste funny or bad.. Pretty simple DON'T Eat it. Common Sense is the rule here.. Make sure all things are sealed not sitting around open in damp moist area's where mold spores could start NO PANIC IS NEEDED> But with all the hype going with this I would go out and buy stock in Pancake Mix quick.
 
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Old 05-13-06, 10:56 AM
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"It needs be kept in mind there is nothing inherently toxic about pancake mix that has passed its freshness date, the product's getting old does not transform it into a poison, nor does the growth of mold within opened boxes of flapjack powder turn it into something that will fell all who ingest it. Only those who have allergies to mold are at risk, and even then, for the pancake mix to pose a hazard it has to contain mold spores, not just be over the hill.

For mold to gain access to a food product, the foodstuff has to be exposed to its spores. Pancake mix cocooned in an unbreached wax paper, plastic, or a foil pouch within its outer packaging wouldn't have this contact and should still be safe no matter how old it gets. However, mix sold unpouched in cardboard boxes or paper sacks would likely be at risk even if the box or sack hadn't previously been opened, because such packaging would not necessarily keep dampness out, and mold thrives in damp environments.

What does all this mean? If you don't have a mold allergy, you needn't fear your pancake mix; if you do have such a sensitivity, you shouldn't keep your flapjack makings around for a few years after opening the box or pouch it came in. "

I Think that is enough said and all of the above is Quoted from another medical site I found on this subject.
 
  #16  
Old 09-05-07, 10:58 AM
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Angry No expiration date!

We have Belgrian waffle mix with no expiration date, purchased from a major chain grocery. Now thats scary and I have to believe that's illegal.
Any thoughts?

'
Originally Posted by Annette View Post
this is a little scary! i saw this in a recent Dear Abby column and thought it was worth repeating here:



i had never heard of dry goods going bad (except for maybe flour getting weevils, etc.) and i, for one, had an incredibly old box of pancake mix in my pantry!! so everyone, go & check your pancake mix RIGHT NOW!!!!!

hope this helps at least one person avoid this reaction!!!

(CREDIT: quote taken from uexpress.com/dearabby)
 
  #17  
Old 09-12-07, 12:52 AM
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When I started reading this thread I thought it sounded like an urban legend so I checked snopes.com.

The information there was essentially what tae posted.

I bought some pancake mix last night and just went to check if it had a date. Yes, it was dated August, 2008.

But I'm not worried, like slickshifit I eat a lot of pancakes and that box of mix will be nothing more than a memory in three months.

Oh, the snopes article mentioned the Dear Abby column was in 2006 and the 19 year-old that died was reported by two pathologists in 2001 so while I admit this is important news it is hardly current news.
 
  #18  
Old 09-21-07, 06:03 PM
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Lesson:
Make them from scratch. There is no better way, and NO, it is not any more work. Pancake mix is for lazy folks.
We have not used mix in YEARS. The recipe is so simple it's not funny. And you know EXACTLY what is in the mix.

Same goes for Belgian waffles. That recipe is a bit more complex but the waffles are second to NONE!

If anyone is interested I can post the recipes.

If there is one thing I know....it's breakfast!
 
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Old 09-22-07, 07:35 AM
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Speedy you are right about that! A little extra effort makes for a much more educated and tastier breakfast. Our high altitude cookbook even has a base flour mix recipe that can be used for multiple baked goods - you mix up the base in bulk quantities and it acts like a more diverse bisquick.
 
  #20  
Old 10-07-07, 05:09 PM
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Slickshift stole my thunder.

We eat pancakes so much I buy a new box about every two weeks and my wife and kiids love 'em.
So the mix dosen't get time to get moldy but good story! I am NOT lazy, but I'll try to make my own mix. What is the recipe??
Yes, I am the master pancake cook.
Been makin 'em for bout 30 years. mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm!
We have 'em every Saturday morning while listening to Click and Clack.
 
  #21  
Old 10-08-07, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Baldgrandpa View Post
We have Belgrian waffle mix with no expiration date, purchased from a major chain grocery. Now thats scary and I have to believe that's illegal.
Any thoughts?

'
It depends on the contents. That suggests that the mixes that you add milk and eggs to will keep longer than those that you simply add water to....
 
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