CHICAGO — Multiple lawsuits filed Tuesday against packaged food giant Conagra allege that its cooking spray cans have exploded and caused serious injuries.
Six separate lawsuits in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago claim that Conagra began using a new aerosol-can design in 2011 that is “faulty, dangerous and prone to explosion.”
The plaintiffs say they suffered severe burns after cans of cooking spray, including Pam, erupted after being placed near a hot stove. The incidents mentioned in the lawsuits occurred between 2017 and 2019 in six different states.
In some cases, people said they were disfigured and underwent surgeries and skin grafts.
Conagra says its products are safe and that the company is no longer producing the can design in question.
The Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder law firm, which filed the suits, released a video of a 2017 incident in Houston that shows a can exploding into flames.
“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 sixty years, and failed to warn consumers about the very serious risks,” said J. Craig Smith of Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder in a statement.
“Perhaps more alarming is the fact that, to this day, Conagra apparently refuses to institute a nationwide recall to ensure that the defective cans sitting on store shelves right now are removed before someone else suffers permanent injury from an explosion. Each day that these cans remain on store shelves, Conagra’s negligence puts consumers in danger.”
The vented can design in question was used on a limited number of cans, a Conagra spokesman said.
The design was used for cans of larger quantities of cooking spray and was primarily used by restaurants and the food-service industry, Conagra said.
The company said it discontinued the design earlier this year as it standardized can designs across all aerosol cooking sprays.
“When PAM is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100-percent safe and effective product. PAM Cooking Sprays is used safely and properly by millions of people several times a day, every single day. The product has been used for more than 50 years for the baking, grilling and cooking needs of consumers everywhere,” Conagra said.
“All PAM Cooking Sprays include large, clear instructions, warnings and cautions 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.”