NutriBullet Sued Over Exploding Blenders

You’ve no doubt seen those high-pressure TV commercial pitches for the NutriBullet blender. Well, it seems the pressure is not just in the pitch. At least twenty users have sued NutriBullet after the machines heated up their contents causing high internal pressures that resulted in explosions and injuries…

Fox 11 News in Los Angeles broke the story…
Caution: Contains some pretty ugly images of injuries!

NitriBullet has responded to the lawsuits and other claims of dangerous complications from using the blenders with this statement:

“Customer safety and satisfaction are paramount at NutriBullet. Reports of blenders, which have operated normally for years, suddenly turning cool ingredients into scalding hot mixtures after less than 20 seconds of normal operation or components unthreading during use, are perplexing and contrary to the hundreds of millions of uses by satisfied NutriBullet customers worldwide. We will investigate the claims thoroughly and analyze the blenders in question to determine exactly what happened. Whatever the circumstances surrounding these accidents, we wish prompt and complete recoveries to those involved.”

However, the plaintiffs are forging ahead…

The manufacturer’s position, that it’s not at fault, seems very weak in the face of some pretty convincing evidence…

First, There is the flurry of complaints from NutriBullet users last march that they had the same problem and that the manual, back then at least, warned against running the blender for more than one minute at a time and recommended letting it cool down before using it again. The manual reportedly also warned that contents of the blender could become heated and pressurized. And it said to open the blender with the mouth of the cup facing away from you.

Next, tests more recently by Berkeley Engineering and Research at UC Berkeley, on behalf of the claimants in the lawsuits, confirmed that pressurization and explosions could occur. The testers used only room temperature or cool ingredients in their tests. And the plaintiffs did too, according to their statements of claim. In fact, it’s a really bad idea to use warm or heated ingredients in any blender if it doesn’t have a hole or vent in the lid for steam to escape.

And… The lawyer representing the plaintiffs,┬áDoug Rochen, notes in the claim that the NutriBullet has ‘no safety features at all’, not even an on/Off switch.

So, what’s a NutriBullet owner to do?

I’d set the thing aside for now and wait for NutriBullet’s explanation of what went wrong with the blenders that exploded. I’m wondering of the problem is one that develops as the blenders age and accumulate a certain number of operating minutes in use. Components of high-speed electric motors tend to heat up if their bearings dry out or insulation breaks down, an electrician I’ve used for years tells me.

If it is something as simple as that, I hope NutriBullet will do something meaningful to compensate users for their injuries and inconvenience. It might turn out that all the NutriBullets made over a certain period of time, or using electric motors from a certain faulty production run should be replaced with new ones at the company’s expense. Interestingly, my electrician says simply replacing the blenders would cost NutriBullet a lot less than setting up some process to have them recalled and repaired.

~ Maggie J.

Posted under: Food News, Food Tips, Kitchen Safety

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