Most people do not realize how much product defects can affect them until they experience an event that results in their injury. Defective products are not exclusive to any particular industry. Though recalls and defective product and personal injury claims may seem more common in the automotive and industrial sectors, they also affect the food industry, as shown in recent allegations against Conagra, one of the country's largest food product manufacturers.
Numerous consumers who purchased Conagra's 10-ounce oil-based cooking sprays allege that the canisters are not safe for use. Despite the complaints, Conagra, the manufacturer of PAM cooking spray, has yet to issue a recall for its allegedly defective cans. The company is aware of the issues but does not believe they are liable.
Consumers allege that the cans explode
Victim complaints allege that Conagra tested out a new canister design without notifying the public nor issuing proper warnings of the potential risks. According to a company representative, the "U-vented" cans that are allegedly under fire are no longer available for purchase. Consumer injury complaints had no bearing on why the potentially defective products were taken off the market.
Among the numerous complaints were the following injuries:
- One person suffered burns so severe from an exploding spray can that her contact lens became fused to her retina.
- Another plaintiff suffered burns all over his body after a canister exploded and ignited while he was cooking near a grill.
- Still another person had a can explode in the grocery store while it was in the shopping cart.
Manufacturers have a duty to consumers
Allegations of negligence and product liability against the company include the aerosol cooking product is missing appropriate warnings. The redesigned cans have a lower capacity for heat and can depressurize, increasing the likelihood of explosions when near lower heat sources than their smaller counterparts. Conagra cooking sprays have a warning that advises against using them around open flames, heat sources and storing the canisters in temps greater than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
When manufacturers fail to ensure their products are safe for use and to warn consumers, they must compensate them for any damages and injuries that occur.