- Conagra Brands is facing six lawsuits, with plaintiffs linking exploding cans of Pam and the company’s other cooking sprays to massive fireballs and severe injuries.
- The lawsuits allege that a can design rolled out by Conagra in 2011 is responsible for incidents in which leaking or exploding cans caused fires, resulting in horrific burns.
- Conagra reportedly stopped using that can design in January but has not recalled the cans.
- One lawsuit describes an incident said to have taken place in April in which a Conagra cooking-spray can erupted and set a woman’s hair, clothing, and body on fire, charring nearly 30% of her skin.
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Conagra Brands – the parent company of Slim Jim, Reddi-Wip, Orville Redenbacher’s, and cooking sprays including Pam – is under scrutiny as people claim cooking-spray cans made by the company have exploded and burst into flames, resulting in serious injuries.
On Tuesday, six lawsuits were filed against Conagra by individuals who said they were injured in cooking accidents involving cans of Pam or other cooking sprays. Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, the law firm that is representing each of the plaintiffs, alleges that the design of the cans can be directly linked to horrifying injuries.
In one 2017 incident that was caught on video, Reveriano Duran was working as a cook at a Baja Grill in Houston. The video shows Duran placing what the lawsuit said was a can of Pam on a shelf near the grill. Suddenly, Duran, the grill, and a large portion of the kitchen are seen engulfed in a fireball.
According to the lawsuit, the can began spraying flammable contents through its bottom vents and then exploded into flames. The lawsuit claims that Duran was seriously injured in the resulting fire, with burns, scarring and disfigurement.
Here is the moment the can appears to explode:
In a separate lawsuit, Y’Tesia Taylor claims that she was cooking at home in Greenville, Texas, using Pam spray she had bought at Walmart. The can of Pam exploded after she set it on a cart, and Taylor was engulfed in a fireball, her suit claims.
Taylor’s face, neck, chest, abdomen, and arms were severely burned, and she was placed in a medically induced coma for two weeks, according to the lawsuit. Her lungs were scarred from fire inhalation, and her right eye was damaged as the fireball caused her contact lens to burn to her eye, the lawsuit claims. It additionally says she is now blind in her right eye.
The most recent incident of the six lawsuits was said to have taken place last month, according to a lawsuit filed by Maria Mariani. A Conagra Brands cooking-spray can erupted, the lawsuit claims, setting her hair on fire. The fire is then said to have moved to her clothes and body, charring nearly 30% of her skin.
The other three plaintiffs reported similar incidents involving exploding or leaking cans of cooking spray, resulting in fires and horrific burns and injuries.
The lawsuits link all six incidents to a can design that Conagra rolled out in 2011. The bottom of the cans features a venting mechanism that plaintiffs claim is faulty and dangerous.
The spray cans involved in the incidents, however, are most likely larger than what most people have in their kitchen.
“Even if a consumer is concerned, the vented can design, that is in question, was used in market on a limited number of cans over the last several years, and has not been used in the vast majority of the product sold,” a Conagra representative said.
J. Craig Smith of Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder pointed out that Conagra had not recalled the cans with the bottom vents that are said to be faulty.
“It is beyond irresponsible that, to increase profits, Conagra Brands made and sold cans of household cooking spray that are susceptible to explosion, choosing not to use the safer designs as it had for the last 60 years, and failed to warn consumers about the very serious risks,” Smith said in a statement.
According to the lawsuits, Conagra told business partners it had discontinued production of the design.
Here is the full statement from Conagra:
“When PAM is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100-per cent safe and effective product. PAM Cooking Sprays is used safely and properly by millions of people every day and several times a day. The product has been used for more than 50 years for the baking, grilling and cooking needs of consumers everywhere.
“All PAM Cooking Sprays include clear instructions on both the front and back of the packaging alerting consumers that the product should be used responsibly as it is flammable, and that it should not be left on a stove or near a heat source, should not be sprayed near an open flame, and should not be stored above 120°F.
“Even if a consumer is concerned, the vented can design, that is in question, was used in market on a limited number of cans over the last several years, and has not been used in the vast majority of the product sold.
“We redesign packaging in the ordinary course of business, and just as we introduced the vented can years ago, we removed it from active production, earlier this year, as we sought to standardize our cans across the entire aerosol cooking spray product line.
“We fully stand by this product. To reiterate, the vented can design is no longer in production. And, when PAM is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100-per cent safe and effective product.”
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