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ConAgra Faces Lawsuits Over Exploding Cans of Pam Cooking Spray

Cooking spray is a healthy alternative to butter and other fats used for sauteing foods. Cooking spray is also very hazardous to your health as a number of people learned the hard way.

According to a class action suit against Pam cooking spray and its parent company Chicago-based ConAgra Brands, a number of consumers have experienced explosions, fires and severe burns when using the product.
The plaintiff’s charge the company with selling “dangerous and defective products” that have the potential of catching fire when used during common cooking use. They are also charging ConAgra with failing to warn consumers of these risks in a more transparent way, similar to how they market the health benefits of the product.

The Pam aerosol canister has been redesigned as a result of earlier lawsuits charging companies with negligence as the result of similar issues with aerosol canisters. Pam’s new design has vents that release pressure at the bottom of the can to avoid fires and blow ups when sprayed. However, this new design allows for the product to seep out and leak accelerants propane and butane even when the product is stored in a “reasonably foreseeable manner.”

ConAgra spokesperson Dan Hare says the product is “used safely by millions of Americans for more than 50 years for baking, grilling and cooking.” Hare goes on to say its popularity is “a testament to both the effectiveness of the product and its safety with proper use.” Hare contends that the warning labels on the packaging are sufficient.

On Hare’s position on behalf of their client, Connecticut attorney
J. Craig Smith, who represents the plaintiffs, counters with: “No one knows what the heck ‘near’ means.” Smith says the labeling is inadequate and insufficient.

The lawsuits include six plaintiffs who live in Illinois, Texas, New York, Utah and Indiana. At the heart of the case are the Pam canisters with a u-shaped bottom and are at least 10 ounces, sold in packs of two.

ConAgra removed the can in question from line production early this year. According to Hare, “We sought to standardize our cans across the entire aerosols cooking spray product line,” and that ConAgra “fully stands by the product.”

An unidentified caller to 911 may disagree with Hare and ConAgra. “All I know is there was a big fireball that went up in the sky and she comes out running, says ‘I’m burning,’ laying on the floor; by the time she gets up her skin is peeling off of her arm and her face.” It is uncertain that this victim is one of the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit.


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About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, and co-host and producer of  “All Our Own” radio show and podcast and co-host of “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been featured on MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!

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