This article was posted in “Dear Abby”. I would like to share it with you.
OLD PANCAKES CAUSE HEALTH REACTION
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 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We checked the date on the box of pancake mix and, to my dismay, found it was very outdated.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just that, and found an article the next day that mentioned a 19-year old male DYING after eating pancakes made with outdated mix.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 they should check their own pancake mix since they don’t use it that often, or 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, NY
Dear Sue: Thank you for the warning. I certainly was not aware that pancake mix can turn moldy and cause and 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 ookie mix. If so, then a warning should be placed on the box for people like me.
We hear so often about discarding prescription and over-the-counter medications after their expiration dates, but I don’t recall warnings about packaged items in the pantry. Head up folks!
from my files:
Baking powder - store no more than 18 months
Baking soda - store no more than 2 years
Biscuit, brownie and muffin mixes - store no more than 9 months
Bouillon products - store no more than 12 months
Bread crumbs, croutons - store not more than 6 months
Cake mixes - store no more than 6 to 9 months
Casserole mix - store not more than 9 to 12 months
Cereals - ready to eat - store no more than 12 months
Chili powder - store no more than 6 months
Cocoa mixes - store no more than 8 months
Cornmeal - store no more than 12 months
Cornstarch - store no more than 18 months
Dried pasta - store no more than 2 years
Dry milk - store no more than 12 months
Canned frostings - store no more than 3 months
Frosting mixes - store no more than 8 months
Flour - cake, all purpose - store for no more than 12 months
Herbs - store no longer than 6 months
Spice blends - store 2 years unopened, no more than 12 months opened
Ground spices - store no more than 6 months
Whole spices - store 1 to 2 years
Gelatin - store no more than 18 months
Hot Roll mix - store no more than 18 months
Instant breakfast products - store no more than 6 months
Pancake and piecrust mixes - store no more than 6 months
Parmesan grated cheese - 10 months unopened, 2 months opened
Pectin - store no more than 12 months
Rice, brown - store no more than 6 months
Rice, white - store no more than 12 months
Sugar, brown - store no more than 4 months
Sugar, confectioners’ - store no more than 18 months
Sugar, granulated - store no more than 2 years
Artificial sweeteners - store no more than 2 years
Tea bags - store no more than 18 months
Tea, instant - store no more than 2 years
Toaster pastries - store no more than 3 months
Sauce and gravy mixes - store no more than 6 months
Soup mixes - store not more than 12 months
Whipped topping, dry - store no more than 1 year
I have a habit of “dating” pantry items when purchased, crossing out the purchase date when opened for use and re-dated. All homemade mixes, canned and frozen foods (homemade/preserved) are always labeled and dated - especially when I make several batches spread out over a period of time. It was always done in the restaurants and I have continued to do it since.