Did you know that your wheat flour is a perfect breeding ground for DUST MITES??!!!
Yes, DUST MITES!
Not only do these dust mites breed in flour, they also breed in milk powder, sugar, corn meal, semolina, macaroni and cereal products, dried fruit and the stuffing go wheat-pain-relieveing-pads that are heated in the microwave.
Dust mites love warm, damp and dark places. And kitchen cupboards are perfect for them as they are damp, dark and warm.
Individuals with dust mite allergy can experience severe allergic reaction when they ingest these mites. It is called the 'oral mite anaphylaxis' or the 'pancake syndrome'. This type of anaphylaxis is frequently triggered by congesting pancakes; thus the name, 'pancake syndrome'. Severe asthma attacks can be triggered as well.
These pantry mites are less than 1mm in size and translucent to light buff to brown in colour.
Some signs of dust mites infestation in flour:
1. Severe infestations will result in a brownish tinge throughout the flour. (You can even see brown, stringy, ropes present.)
2. A 'minty ordour' will be present if the mites are crushed!
3. Flour will become sticky.
4. The flour will also acquire sickly sweet smell and will develope an unpalatable taste.
Even when the flour is cooked at high temperature, the mites can still trigger an allergic reaction.
In order to keep your wheat flour 'mites-free', keep them in the refrigerator. All the more if the packet of flour is opened! There are some people who store unused flour in the freezer. That will certainly keep the flour 'mites-free'!
*Some think that by storing the remaining flour in air-tight plastic bags, they are safe. The mites are able to puncture and make pin point holes in them!!!!! So store them in airtight containers.
Do check your flour before using!
PS: I store all my flour in the fridge after experiencing a 'flour-mite' infestation!