Mum issues Pancake Day warning after her ‘healthy’ teen son ‘struggled to breathe’ after using out-of-date mix
5th March 2019

The excerpt, which has resurfaced online this week, details how the woman's 14-year-old son ate stale pancakes, before experiencing what appeared to be an allergic reaction.

"I recently made a batch of pancakes for my healthy 14-year-old son, using a mix that was in our pantry," the woman wrote.

"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 colour," the woman continued.

"We checked the date on the box of pancake mix and, to my dismay, found it was very outdated.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just that, and found an article the next day that mentioned a 19-year-old male DYING after eating pancakes made with outdated mix.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," she said.

"Also, beware of outdated cake, brownie and cookie mixes."

The article was originally published in 2006 and has since led many to question whether consuming out of date pancake mix – or similar ready-made cake batters – can cause an allergic reaction.

Discussing the post on Hoax Slayer – a website which debunks myths – the publication wrote: "Although the experience of the 14-year-old child described in the message has not been verified, the core information is factual.

"Mold that can form in old pancake mix and other foodstuffs can indeed cause a serious allergic reaction.

"As the message claims, in one documented case, a 19-year-old man died of anaphylaxis after eating pancakes made from an old pancake mix that contained mold."

The story has been discussed a number of times since its original publication and several sources have dug a little deeper into both the woman's experience and that of the young male who passed away.

While it makes sense to avoid consuming out-of-date pancake mix, many publications have reported that it's only harmful to the point of causing a reaction, if the person eating it is allergic to mould.

In a review written in The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology – which discusses the death of the 19-year-old male – researchers explained that the teen 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 abstract read.

"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," they continued.

"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.

"… The decedent had a history of allergies to molds and penicillin, and thus was allergic to the molds in the pancake mix."

As it's not confirmed whether stale pancake mix is toxic to everyone, it's best to avoid eating it, with the NHS explaining that mould can "produce allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances."

They also note that "inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Moulds can also cause asthma attacks."

Always check your pancake mix is in date – if it isn't, bin it.

Earlier this week, we told you B&M is selling a pink UNICORN pancake mix for £1 and it’s a must for Shrove Tuesday.

We also revealed the five best vegan and gluten-free pancake recipes for Shrove Tuesday.

And we showed you B&M is selling chocolate peanut butter Cheerios and shoppers are going nutty for them.

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