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Topic: Expired cake mixes dangerous?
clarefg 11/28/2010 10:02 AM
I just received this email from a friend. Of course, it is just after I made a cake using an expired box of Betty Crocker. Can anyone confirm this or is it just one of those crazy junk emails:

Warning re: cake mixes - who knew?
I always thought that "old" mixes that were past their expiration date would just not rise/bake correctly. This is scary!
Somebody wrote: Before my surgery I bought quite a few Duncan Hines cakes mixes that were on sale. A couple of months ago I decide to use one, I checked the expiration date and found it past, all the boxes were passed the expiration date. I phoned Duncan Hinds to ask if the one that was only two months passed if it was OK. She told me in no uncertain words to throw them all out, she even said to open the boxes and throw the mix in the garbage, just in case someone picked it up and used it

Cake Mixes & Toxins- ** PLEASE READ** Pass this on to ALL in your address book. You never know whose life you may save by doing so. For those of you at work, PLEASE remember to check your cupboards when you get home tonight!!!

This is confirmed on Snopes :
A student at HBHS (high school) had pancakes this week and it almost became fatal. His Mom (registered nurse) made him pancakes, dropped him off at school and headed to play tennis. She never takes her cell phone on the court but did this time and her son called to say he was having trouble breathing. She told him to go to the nurse immediately and proceeded to call school and alert the nurse. The nurse called the paramedics and they were there in 3 minutes and worked on the boy all the way to the hospital. He came so close to dying. Evidently this is more common then I ever knew. Check the expiration dates on packages like pancakes and cake mixes that have yeast which over time develop spores. Apparently, the mold that forms in old mixes can be toxic! Throw away ALL OUTDATED pancake mix, brownie mixes, Bisquick, cake & cookie mixes, etc., you have in your home.

P.S. Tell this to your children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces and anyone else who keeps these types of mixes in the cupboard. P.P.S. This warning especially applies to any person(s) with mold allergies.

LBGunnin 11/28/2010 10:15 AM
This was discussed on "The Doctors" this past week and that is only if the item is open. If it has been sealed then the bacteria doesn't grow. I have used expired but I have my limits as to how long.
dottiepark 11/28/2010 10:19 AM
Go to the Snopes link in the previous post and read the entire thing. The mix in question had sat opened on a shelf and had become contaminated by mold spores. The yeast/spore thing is not true. Mixes sealed in waxed paper, plastic, or foil pouches that are intact should be safe no matter how old they are. Nevertheless, you don't want to risk making someone sick for the small price of a mix.
clarefg 11/28/2010 10:32 AM
Thanks. I'm going to call Betty Crocker during the week to check with them. I just finished making a 3-tier birthday cake using 6 boxes of mix. One of the boxes was a few months old, I think from June. I can re-bake just to make sure and I think I know which layers I made with the expired box. I can't believe this, the expiration said the usual "best if used by", not "don't under any circumstances" thanks for the feedback
CollectorEJ 11/28/2010 3:41 PM
I have used expired mixes -- but never an opened package. It drives me crazy that some people won't eat anything that is expired by even a day. At one time we didn't have expiration dates on food items. When a friend sent me the same warning I read the Snoops article to make sure that what they were saying was true, if you read the Snoops article you realize that it is only opened packages.
clarefg 11/28/2010 4:03 PM
Who would open a cake mix and not use the whole thing!? I think it's OK to go with the cake and not re-bake.
cq75 11/28/2010 4:54 PM
This "email alert" has been around for quite some time (I've gotten it from my MIL at least once a year for the past couple of years). Be sure to read that snopes article fully. It does give some really good basic info.

I don't think a couple of months past "Best by" would be bad in terms of taste (I've gone 6 months and not had a problem), its that the "active" ingredients aren't quite as active, therefore you won't get the optimum end result (may be drier than normal, not rise as fully, etc.). Same reason why you need to be proofing yeast or baking powder before using those ingredients if they have been sitting in your cupboard or pantry for a while.
cq75 11/29/2010 3:59 PM
Did a little more digging and found this webpage. Good description of different codings and what they mean.
LesaVaughn 12/29/2010 12:34 AM
I also read today that it can cause toxic mold poisoning.
dottiepark 12/29/2010 6:49 AM
Read the Snopes article, LesaVaughn...
rhondascakes 01/01/2011 7:00 PM
Of course they are going to say throw it out, you will have to buy new ones from them and they make more money.