Although hardly new, Japan has been undergoing something of a boom in pancake consumption in recent years. With several trendy new restaurants opening up around the country, there has also been a significant rise in the popularity of homemade pancakes as well. Yes, with its warm and fluffy texture and mildly sweet flavor it’s certainly hard to turn down a hotcake, isn’t it?

While everyone is having a good time with their pancakes, some researchers and medical professionals would like to remind us all that pancakes and similar flour based foods have the potential to not only make us very ill, but in some cases may lead to death.

But before you go cursing out these wet blankets of science for ruining yet another beloved food with their health warnings, there’s actually an incredibly easy way to not die from eating flapjacks as well.

■ Might be mites in there

The reason that pre-made pancake mix is potentially lethal is the presence of tiny mites. These mites feed on flour and would love to get in your bag of hotcake mix if you give them half a chance. A 2001 inspection of food in the UK showed that 21% of cereal-based foods contained some type of mite.

However, usually the numbers of mites were very small and probably not enough to cause significant damage to your system. In fact, there are probably more mites crawling all over you right now as you read this!

■ “Pancake Syndrome”

Okay, now that you’re back from your scalding hot shower: These mites only pose a danger when they are allowed to reproduce, something which they can do quickly and in large numbers.

If you happen to ingest a large number of mites that grew in your pancake mix then you run the chance of suffering an anaphylaxis. This is a serious allergic reaction much like some people get after a wasp sting, and may involve similar symptoms such as shortness of breath, vomiting, or in extreme cases death.

It’s known as “oral mite anaphylaxis” or its more causal and delicious-sounding name of “pancake syndrome.” This danger is not limited to pancake mix though, and may occur in other flour-based ingredients as well such as okonomiyaki mix or even regular wheat flour. However, it is believed that flavored mixes are a higher risk than plain flours.

■  Help control the mite population

Even after cooking food using flour that’s rife with mites, the allergen remains present and a danger. Even using an unopened package of hotcake mix is not guaranteed as mites could have entered at any point during processing and packaging.

Luckily, there is an incredibly easy way to effectively protect oneself from pancake syndrome: just chuck it in the fridge.

Usually pancake mix packages have a warning that it should be kept in a dry cool place, but a lot of us just assume that means a cupboard. However, the best place to keep your mix so the mite population doesn’t spike is somewhere where it’s under 10 degrees C, 24/7. Apparently they can’t get it on in those conditions.

And that’s it! Just keep your hotcake mix in the fridge at all times and you’ll be protected against even the remote possibility of dying from a pancake, which is widely thought to be one of the less macho ways to die.

Have a full fridge? Well, no problem! Just screw storage all together and use the entire package of hotcake mix at once to make one of these deadly delicious rice-cooker pancakes instead.

For your health!

Source: Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko (Japanese), Anaphylaxis Campaign, Thermo Scientific (English)
Top Image: RocketNews24
Mite Image: Wikipedia – Joel Mills
Rice Cooker Pancake Image: RocketNews24