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8 Burn Victims Sue, Blaming Exploding Cans of Pam

They claim cooking spray exploded, injuring them
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 7, 2019 4:08 PM CDT
This March 24, 2010 file photo shows Pam cooking spray at the Heinen's grocery store in Bainbridge Twp., Ohio.   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

(Newser) – Eight burn victims sued the maker of Pam cooking spray Tuesday, saying they were severely injured when cans of the spray exploded in their kitchens, the AP reports. The plaintiffs' attorney, J. Craig Smith, says larger cans of Pam and similar cooking sprays made by Conagra Brands have a faulty, U-shaped vent system in the bottom that makes them prone to explosion. In one case, a victim said the fire was so intense that it burned her contact onto her right eye, causing near-blindness. Vented cans are 10 ounces or larger, not the 6-ounce variety usually sold at groceries. The bigger cans may be found at warehouse stores like Costco as well as Walmart and Amazon. One of the lawsuits was filed by a cook who was using Sysco-brand cooking spray at a restaurant in Texas. Two of the lawsuits represent couples who were injured while cooking together.

Chicago-based Conagra says the vent system was used on a "limited" number of cans but was eliminated during a product redesign earlier this year. The redesign was not related to the lawsuits and was part of an effort to standardize the company's cans, Conagra said. Conagra says Pam and other cooking sprays have clear warning labels on the front and back telling consumers the product is flammable and should not be left on or near a stove or heat source. Cooking spray shouldn't be stored above 120 degrees or sprayed near an open flame, the company said. "When Pam is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100% safe and effective product," Conagra said in a statement. The company noted that it has been selling Pam for more than 50 years. Smith has filed three previous lawsuits against Conagra on behalf of burn victims. Two are still in litigation; one was dismissed in January.

(Read more lawsuit stories.)

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