According to a Pennsylvania woman and her lawyer, what you would assume was a frightening freak accident was in fact quite the opposite.
Tammy Reese suffered second-degree burns across her face, arms, and hands several years ago as the result of an explosion that occurred because of a allegedly faulty can of cooking spray. The terrifying incident took place while she was working in the kitchen of a Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, social club.
Reese was awarded $7.1 million on Monday in a lawsuit filed against Conagra, the makers of several types of cooking sprays.
The Washington Post reports that the culprit was a can of Swell brand cooking spray. The spray was on a shelf above the stove and not being used at the time. It was away from a heat source, but still began spraying a dangerous combination of cooking oil and flammable propellants into the air as Reese was cooking a chicken pot pie. The result was a fiery explosion that left Reese severely injured.
The lawsuit states that the brand of cooking spray Reese used included bottom-facing vents that can be less temperature resistant. Conagra stopped manufacturing the can in 2019, but was never recalled by the company.
Reese's lawyer, J. Craig Smith, referred to this week's win as "an important first step," given that several other personal-injury lawsuits against Conagra will soon have their own day in court.
“Having…our voices heard was important and was an important first step,” Smith said. “Hopefully it’s the tipping point for Conagra.”
“A lot of people still have them in their kitchens at home,” Smith said. “And I worry about that. I want to get the word out—this is a clear and present danger.”
A spokesperson for Conagra responded, saying that the brand is standing behind its products.
"Safety of our products and our consumers is always a top priority of Conagra. We continue to stand by our cooking spray products, which are safe and effective when used correctly, as instructed," they said.
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