Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Killer Pancakes, Dude!

First, let me start off by sharing that I spoke with not one, but TWO wonderful, Southern bloggers this past weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to post (read: brag) about it until now. Heather and Faith. They are both so sweet, and I could listen to their accents all day long! Heather is coming to stay with me on Saturday, because her family singing group is performing at our church! Can't wait. And we spent a few minutes chatting away. And, Faith and I spent about an hour and a half on the phone ... well past my bedtime ... chit chatting about the boys, her older kids, our hubbies, oh, and blogging safety. We won't get into that, though! They are both such delightful ladies, and if you get a chance, check out their blogs. You'll be hooked. I promise!

This morning, a co-worker sent me an email that was very interesting, and I wanted to share it with you. Normally, I don't forward emails on, because most of the time, they just aren't true. So I first went to Urban Legends just to check it out, and it turns out that this email is true.

Apparently, a person allergic to molds can suffer a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction to the molds that grow in old, expired pancake mix. There is a documented case in Charleston, South Carolina, of a 19-year-old college kid who died in such a manner.

So, I'm sure you're thinking ... "GiBee, I'm a pretty responsible adult. I think I'd notice!"

Yes, as an adult, we'd think to toss out an expired package. Yes, the pancakes on their own will taste funny, and as an adult, you may catch that. But if you've taught your children how to make pancakes on their own while you're catching a few extra zzzzz's, as many of my friends have, I'm pretty certain they will NOT think to check the expiration date of the package. Furthermore, if your child is hungry, and has loaded the pancakes with butter and syrup, or peanut butter, or any other condiment used on pancakes (but hopefully NOT ketchup -- Blech!!), chances are they will not question the actual taste of the pancake as being odd.

And, I think of myself as a responsible adult too (hey! Keep your comments to yourself!), but I also like to be thrifty. OKAY, okay ... lazy. And I wouldn't have even thought of checking the expiration date on a box of Bisquick, Aunt Jemima, Hungry Jack, or any other kind of pancake mix.

Plus, many of us tend to shop at Costco, Sams, etc. and load up on bulks... so you gotta wonder ... how fast would you go through all that pancake mix?! Also, the youth at our church frequently have pancake breakfasts for fund raisers, and I happen to know that the church's kitchen has a pantry chock full of bulk pancake mix ... which may or may not be expired!

Now, don't get panicked. There isn't anything necessarily toxic about pancake mix that has just passed its freshness date, and just because the product is old doesn't turn it into a poison. Only those who have allergies to mold are at risk, and even then, for the pancake mix to be toxic, it has to have mold spores, not just be old.

So, I encourage you, as I will myself, to go check out your pancake mixes and make sure they aren't expired!

P.S. -- Heather -- don't worry. I'll use a brand new box of Bisquick on the breakfast casserole I'm making for Sunday morning, 'kay?


Original email (a Dear Abby letter):


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. Also, beware of outdated cake, brownie and cookie mixes.


Shalee said...

I'm first? Woo hoo! I'm glad you're back and I hope Hunter is feeling sooo much better.

Did you know that you are supposed to refrigerate Bisquick? It says it right on the box, but I never knew it until a month ago.

Sheesh... I'm glad no one got sick all those times it's been sitting on my shelf.

Shalee said...

Oh, and there are NEVER outdated brownie mixes at our house. It's against the law in our house to let them sit on the shelf more than a week. I've got the rolls to prove it.

GiBee said...

Rolls!?! Good GRIEF woman ... have you fallen out of your tiny tree and hit every tiny branch on the way down? Why, you don't have a single roll on you--except for those eyes that might ROLL into the back of your head from eating too many brownies! Heavens... you're the tiniest person I know! Next to you, I'm an amazon woman with the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains going up and down my legs and stomach.



Heather Smith said...

I will definitely keep an eye on the dates of those boxes. I'm VERY allergic to mold, and I definitely wouldn't want to go through this! Can't wait until Saturday!!

Heather Smith said...

No need to pick up any toys by the way. She plays with Trace's toys all the time!! Believe me, she'll find ways to amuse herself (and I'm pretty sure she'll be sitting in one of your chairs for five minute increments at some point in the weekend!)

Tammy said...

Wow, that's pretty scary! I'm so glad you posted on this. I'll be checking all my pantry stuff this morning!

Jennifer said...

Wow, thanks for the info. And, seriously, Shalee...rolls? My word, woman, GiBee is right. You're TINY.

Have fun with Heather this weekend! I'm so jealous. :-)

Barb said...

Wow. I shop at Sam's so I buy ginormous bags of pancake mix. I never even knew it HAD an expiration date. Off to check mine right now.

Donnetta said...

I have never heard of this. Learn something new every day. Thanks for sharing!

And I'm with the rest of you... Shalee and rolls can not possibly belong in the same sentence.

Susanne said...

How bizarre? Do you know what in it develops the spores?

Hope you're all feeling better over at your place!

Theresa said...

YIKES! I JUST served some expired Bisquick Pancakes to some guests who were visiting us for a weekend. And, it was one of those giant boxes from Costco/Sam's.

I guess none of them were allergic to mold! Thank goodness! Next time I'll pitch it...:)

Susanne said...

BTW, tagged you!

Shalee said...

Gibee: I hearby invite you to my place to show you just how much clothes can hid on a body... It will of course be our little secret, right?

Anonymous said...

All I can say is, ain't Faith a sweetheart? Just like you GiBee.