Of course, toxic mold usually applies to the other meaning of mold, and not to the formed gelatin dish.

Merriam-Webster‘s definition #2 includes "a cavity in which a substance is shaped"… not until #4 is "mold" defined as:

    a superficial often woolly growth produced especially on damp or decaying organic matter or on living organisms by a fungus.

The links to FDA & CDC were entirely false, but is a manifestation of their influence and public-health vigilance. Past years’ targets were similarly targeted (see below), so hopefully there’s no resulting ill will.

As in past years, the false news story is followed by very true moderator commentary. Every link and reference is to actual sources, both to the prior ProMED concerns about gelatin & the rather amazing series of presidential recipes.

This is the 5th annual OEM-L fake public health investigation. Others are listed below.

Thanks (as always) to Kathy Kirkland of AOEC who not only doubles my ideaspace, but who also lets me skip over stuff that might make my kids roll their eyes. Despite her help, this project is my own, and blame and annoyance can be focused upon me alone.

– Gary Greenberg


FDA Home Page | Search FDA Site | FDA A-Z Index | Contact FDA

FDA News

Sun 1 Apr 2007

Media Inquiries:
R. Mesnier , 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:

Toxic Mold Causes Memory Loss, Judgment Effects



Media Inquiries: Roland Mesnier , 301-827-6242 Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

Memory, Judgment Problems Blamed On Mold-Related Neuro-Toxin

Increasingly frequent situations of evident brain and nervous system deterioration have reached news reports and political discussion boards.  Examples of recent political controversy regarding Administration officials’ memories and recall include:

  • Attorney General Gonzales’ omission of staffing discussions with political advisors
  • VP Chief of Staff Lewis Libby’s confabulated details regarding press sources of classified origin
  • VP Cheney’s own repeatedly amnestic responses regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and links between El-Quaeda and Saddam Hussain

After recognizing the situation to be a tight aggregation of uncommon effects, an evaluation of a potential outbreak was initiated by the Epidemiology Intelligence Service (EIS is CDC’s non-covert investigation unit). Systematic assessment using routine public health measures of dietary and environmental exposures has revealed several potential toxicants, including well-recognized hazards with neurological toxidromes. Dietary histories evaluated for statistical association (retrospective case-control, chi-squared analysis) with those suffering neural / behavioral dysfunction revealed a high correlation to intake of a molded dessert containing gelatin, sour cream, canned fruit elements and Kool Whip® topping. (Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)

Gelatin itself has been recognized as a potential toxic component of dessert and sauce elements in recent years. When the presence of gelatin was revealed in salad dressing for "vegetarian" salads, outcry was widespread among religious communities. More general alarm has been raised over this material when source animals are recognized as potential sources of prions or "Mad Cow Disease", associated with human risk for variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (vCJD). In the present situation, disease latency required identification of a more rapid cause (delay for vCJD is months-years; the White House cluster was characterized by only weeks after shared exposure). Mold effects have are an increasingly discussed hazard, and may provide an explanation.

Unlike most food items, molded gelatin is more likely to be served to a group and shared widely. Individual servings of gelatin salad or dessert are usually simple cubes, filled bowls or scooped servings. In celebratory communal settings however, gelatin molds are often created intentionally, combining decorative and culinary motives. These social situations for widespread gelatin consumption increase the molded desserts’ hazards, yielding greater public health impact than ordinary individual intake.

Historically, molded gelatin dishes (often from family recipes) have frequently been served in White House gatherings. Still available recipes include:

  • Mrs. Truman’s Bing Cherry Mold (Salad)
  • Mrs. Eisenhower‘s Frosted Mint Delight
  • Clinton‘s family favorite Coca-Cola Jello Mold (with black glace cherries)
  • Barbara Bush’s grandmother’s recipe for ring mold with horseradish, double cream, vegetables and mayonnaise

Recognizing that molding gelatin may increase the cumulative hazard to consumers, its increased popularity in conservative political circles has been evaluated. Apparently, the Eisenhower-like 1950‘s appeal resonates within the current Republican hierarchy, leading to expectations for similar trends of hula-hoops and poodle-skirts.

Specific protective interventions to reduce toxic effects from current recipes and serving instructions are still under development. Experts do agree that certain mold configurations are especially hazardous and capable of cerebral injury (see & click on attached images).


1. ProMED: 05-FEB-07 PRO/AH/EDR> CJD (new var.) update 2007 (03)

2. ProMED: 30-JAN-06 PRO/AH/EDR> Dioxin, animal feed – Belgium

3. ProMED: 19-JAN-03 PRO/AH> BSE – Japan

4. Mesnier R, Malard C, All the Presidents’ Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House, A Memoir, Flammarion (February, 2007, $16.47)

5. History of Jell-O; ‘The History Of The Wiggle’ www.kraftfoods.com/jello/explore/history/

For further information contact:
FDA Food Safety Hotline: 1-888-SAFEFOOD
FDA website: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov



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Past April Fools Occ-Env-Med-L messages:

2007: FDA: Toxic Mold, Memory Loss, Judgment Effects, US (DC)

2006: ProMED: Capsaicin-Containing Personal Lubricant: UK, Scotland

2005: NYT: Ur Assay for Liberal BioMarker, Wker Screening

2004: Narrative: Sad tale of a spoiled spoof (belated April 1, 2004!) and content: FDA: Counterfeit Zocour and Aerisept

2003: MMWR/03-04-01, Powdered Candy Linked to Oral CA, Penn. and MMWR/03-04-01, Contents, Special edition