Exploding Nutribullet not being used properly, says maker
WARNING: Graphic images
THE NutriBullet blender started out as the infomercial wunderkind, perfectly timing its arrival to coincide with our earnest desire to start off the day with a healthy smoothie.
But despite earning cult status, the brand has been unable to ward off negative headlines about NutriBullets exploding and injuring users, causing burns and blisters.
The creator of NutriBullet, Homeland Housewares, is currently being sued in the US by Pete Damiano, an American man who suffered severe facial injuries while making a sauce using his machine.
"Thankfully he is not permanently blinded, but the very hot, sticky sauce ended up in his eyeball, in addition to being all over his face and he had to undergo months of treatment to try to correct that problem," his San Francisco-based lawyer, Lori Andrus, told Today Tonight Adelaide.
"The company is aware of the problem and, in fact, we have brought a prior lawsuit against a common manufacturer based on the Magic Bullet's similar design defect [Magic Bullet is a different blender, also owned by Homeland Housewares]," Ms Andrus said.
"So yes, it's our position that the company is aware of the problem and is not addressing it."
But NutriBullet has hit back at suggestions its products are unsafe, arguing when operated correctly "in accordance with the directions provided in the instruction manual, which is nine pages long, users should have no issues.
"We take our customers' safety seriously and recommend all consumers should always read and follow the instructions provided," a NutriBullet spokesman told news.com.au.
"There are clear warnings against incorrect and improper use repeated throughout the instruction manuals," he said.
"Consumers should not put hot liquids in any of the blending vessels (cups), should not leave the unit unattended during use and additionally should never exceed the maximum one minute blending time.
"Exceeding one minute is unnecessary when preparing a cool smoothie. All of these points are clearly explained in the instruction manual."
News.com.au has read the instruction manual, which includes two full pages warning users what not to do. These include putting ice in the blender, using warm or hot ingredients or carbonated beverages, and leaving the appliance unattended.
"Never leave the NutriBullet unattended while it is in use. Close supervision is necessary when any appliance is used by or near children," the manual states.
"The cyclonic action of your NutriBullet requires the use of liquids to make [smoothies] and other nutritious beverages. It is not intended to be used as an ice crusher, and not without liquids," it continues.
"We suggest that you use frozen fruit and chilled liquids. Alternatively, you may add crushed ice, up to 25 per cent of the total cup volume, with water or other liquid filled up to the 'MAX--' line. Do not crush ice or other hard items without liquid, as such prolonged use may dull or damage your blades. Always inspect your blades before each use."
"Do not put hot liquids in any of the blending vessels before blending. Start with cool or room temperature ingredients. Heated ingredients can create internal pressure in a sealed blending vessel, which may erupt on opening and cause thermal injury," the manual states.
The back of the NutriBullet also reiterates these safety instructions, stating "Do not operate continuously for more than one minute" and "NEVER blend warm, hot or carbonated ingredients".
This is not the first lawsuit NutriBullet has dealt with recently.
American woman Wendy Littlefield, from Nevada, claims her NutriBullet "suddenly malfunctioned" while she was blending canned tomatoes and beans, causing severe damage to her right hand.
According to her lawsuit, she claims her injuries left her with nerve damage and cuts. She says Homeland Housewares should have known its machines were "unreasonably dangerous and defective when used for its intended use".
Her daughter Cambrie wrote on Facebook:
"My mother's life will never be the same, considering she will likely never be able to use her dominant hand again and she rides a roller coaster of never-ending pain and constant surgeries.
"This is a tragedy I hope no one else has to endure."
In 2015, London woman Tysha Stapleton, 24, claimed her blender exploded in her face while she was making a smoothie.
She says she was left with horrific burns on her face and permanent scarring.
"I screamed as the juice hit me. It isn't supposed to be hot but it must have heated up on its own and exploded," Ms Stapleton told The Sun.
"The pain was horrific. I could feel my skin burning. I thought I was blind. I could see the skin on my eyelid hanging down. My skin was melting off my face. It was unbearable," she said.
"When I saw my face I was scared of my own reflection. I'm scared I will be like this for life. I look like a monster. I will be left with blotches on my face at the very least."