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  1. #1
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    Expired Pancake Mix Can Be Fatal

    Mmm... I guess I better throw away that 10-year-old box of Aunt Jemima sitting in my cupboard...

    http://www.nbc5i.com/news/9382240/detail.html

    POSTED: 10:43 am CDT June 16, 2006
    UPDATED: 10:59 am CDT June 16, 2006

    DALLAS -- Eating outdated pancake mix could be fatal, health officials in South Carolina said.

    They said a 19-year-old who suffered from a mold allergy died because of an allergic reaction to pancake mix that was two years old.

    Parkland Emergency Medicine Dr. Paul Pepe said the danger arises when mold spores grow on stale pancake mix.

    "If a person, an individual, has specific allergy to certain molds, then this could be something that could not only be, make them real sick, it could actually be lethal in certain cases," Pepe said.

    The cause of death, he said, can be anaphylaxis, or swelling that occurs in the lungs, throat, face, skin, lips and tongue, as well as "dramatic breathing problems."

    Experts advise consumers to avoid pancake mix that has a strange smell or taste. They also said that mix sold in a cardboard box and that is not sealed in wrapping is more likely to be exposed to mold spores.

    "A lot of the molds that might develop in a pancake mix, for example, are more likely to be things that are kind of like bread molds or wheat molds that may occur. It's more likely to happen in an environment that may have exposure to humidity or dampness," Pepe said.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie
    Experts advise consumers to avoid pancake mix that has a strange smell or taste.
    Gee...... I'm so glad the "experts" warned me against this. :D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cris1102
    Gee...... I'm so glad the "experts" warned me against this.
    There are expired pancake batter experts? :eek: How boring would THAT job be?!:p

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sphagnum
    There are expired pancake batter experts? :eek: How boring would THAT job be?!:p
    Sounds like they should be getting hazardous duty pay.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sphagnum
    There are expired pancake batter experts? :eek: How boring would THAT job be?!
    Quote Originally Posted by deputywave
    Sounds like they should be getting hazardous duty pay.

    Apparently. And they probably make around $180,000 a year since they are "scientists." :p
    Last edited by Cris1102; 06-17-06 at 07:09 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sphagnum
    There are expired pancake batter experts? :eek: How boring would THAT job be?!:p
    Yeah, my wife watches shows on the Food Network sometimes (such as "Unwrapped", an excellent show that even I find interesting), where they sometimes have a glimpse into the prepared food industry - The lengths that large corporations go to in rolling out a new product and QC'ing the production are unbelievable - After all, hundreds of millions of dollars are at risk.

  7. #7
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    http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/pancake.asp

    In April 2006, the experience of a 14-year-old who had eaten pancakes made from a mix that had gone moldly was described in the popular newspaper column Dear Abby. The account has since been circulated widely on the Internet as scores of concerned homemakers ponder the safety of the pancake mix lurking in their larders.

    There is truth in this tale. Yet its inherent warning is overblown.

    While we cannot vet the incident described by "Sue in Wyantskill" involving her 14-year-old son, the underlying claim is proveably true — it is possible for someone who chows down on pancakes made from a mix that has sat around too long to suffer a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction to the molds that have grown therein. We know this to be so because it has happened before, and the resultant death was documented.

    In 2001, two pathologists practicing in Charleston, South Carolina, reported on an unnamed 19-year-old who died in such a manner. While home on vacation from college, the victim, a young man with a history of allergies (including mold), polished off two pancakes made from a packaged mix that had sat open in a kitchen cabinet for about two years — even though his two friends stopped eating their portions, complaining that the griddlecakes tasted like rubbing alcohol. Very quickly thereafter, while watching television, the ill-fated collegian experienced shortness of breath that was not relieved by his inhaler. He asked his friends to take him to a clinic not far from the home, and he was reported to have turned a bit blue from lack of oxygen (i.e., became cyanotic) during the ride. While he did manage to walk into the clinic on his own, once inside he suddenly collapsed in cardiopulmonary arrest. He failed to respond to resuscitative efforts and was pronounced dead.

    The cause of his death was determined to be anaphylaxis due to an allergic reaction to molds.

    Anaphylaxis is a rapidly developing immunologic reaction that occurs when those who have allergies come in contact with the substances they are allergic to. When it kills, it does so by triggering fatal respiratory or cardiac arrest.

    The pancake mix that delivered a toxic payload was analyzed and found to contain four rather nasty molds: Penicillium, Fusarium, Mucor, and Aspergillus. The decedent had not been allergic to eggs (which are a component of pancakes), so there was no doubt as to which allergy had killed him. It had been mold, and nothing but.

    There was a death, and it had been due to ancient pancake mix. Or, rather, to an allergic reaction to the mold that had grown in the stale pancake mix.

    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. It's not worth dying over 50˘ worth of pancake mix, so when in doubt, throw it out.

    Barbara "better to pitch the crepe than to hang it" Mikkelson

    Last updated: 19 April 2006


    The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/pancake.asp
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  8. #8
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    Let's see...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sphagnum
    There are expired pancake batter experts? :eek: How boring would THAT job be?!:p
    To become an expired pancake batter expert, you'd probably have to know a lot about pancakes, which means you'd probably have to eat a hell of a lot 'em. Interesting...but sniffing out the bad mix might be a problem. I wonder if they have pancake mix sniffing K9's? Nah, too much danger for the dogs.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cris1102 View Post
    Apparently. And they probably make around $180,000 a year since they are "scientists." :p
    Actually, did you know that in Arizona public school teachers on average make more than a nuclear engineer? (This is true, I forget where I got it from)

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