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A mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions is prepared in an Instant Pot

A New Jersey woman recently filed a new pressure cooker lawsuit against Tabletops Unlimited, Inc., the manufacturer of the Cooks by JCPenney 8-Quart Stovetop Pressure Cooker. The plaintiff claims that while using the pressure cooker, she was seriously injured. She seeks compensatory damages to cover her medical expenses.

Plaintiff Blames Pressure Cooker Manufacturer for Burn Injuries

According to her complaint, the plaintiff was using her JCPenney pressure cooker on February 10, 2021. She was able to rotate and open the lid while the pressure cooker was still under pressure. The scalding hot contents were forcefully ejected from the cooker and onto the plaintiff.

She sustained serious and substantial bodily injuries including burns to her abdomen and forearm. She blames the manufacturer for the incident, claiming that despite the company’s statements about the safety of the product, it is dangerously defective and should have been redesigned to be safer for consumers.

Tabletops Unlimited is also facing lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who claim to have been injured by Phillippe Richard pressure cookers. These plaintiffs also claim that the lids were able to be opened while the cookers were still under pressure.

Several Pressure Cooker Manufacturers Involved in Litigation

Most pressure cooker manufacturers advertise their products as being safe and having mechanisms that are supposed to prevent the lid from being removed until all the pressure in the unit has been released.

Unfortunately, several different brands of these products have been linked to reports of serious injuries, including first, second, and third-degree burns; eye injuries; permanent scarring; and head and other impact injuries.

Some of the other brands currently involved in litigation related to these issues include:

  • Tristar
  • Crock-Pot
  • Instant Pot
  • Phillippe Richard
  • Wolfgang Puck
  • NuWave
  • Ninja Foodi
  • Bella Cucina

Some pressure cookers have been recalled because of reports of the lids flying off unexpectedly and causing burn injuries.

In November 2020, for instance, nearly one million Crock-Pot 6-quart pressure cookers were recalled because the cooker could pressurize when the lid was not fully locked. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “This can cause the lid to suddenly detach while the product is in use, posing burn risks to consumers from hot food and liquids ejected from the product.”

Why Do Pressure Cookers Explode?

A pressure cooker may explode if:

  • The vent is clogged and the pressure forces the lid to open too soon.
  • The vent is clogged and prevents the pressure from releasing at the end of cooking.
  • The lid lock is defective and the lid opens before the pressure is reduced.
  • The lid does not seal properly.

To reduce the risk of an exploding pressure cooker, make sure to:

  • Check all seals and gaskets before every use to be sure they are clean and in working order. Replace any that are cracked or dried out. Replace the rubber gasket between the pot and lid once a year, depending on how often you use the cooker.
  • Never overfill the cooker—fill it only to the two-thirds mark.
  • Be mindful of what you’re cooking. Certain foods like pasta, oatmeal, and applesauce can block the steam valves and vents.
  • Release pressure in a safe way and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always clean the cooker well after each use.

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