Lawsuits alleged Pam cooking spray “exploded” on users, caused severe burns

Not Pam, but this is the best Getty Images will do.
Not Pam, but this is the best Getty Images will do.
Photo: DGLimages (Getty Images)
Hot LinksHot LinksWe spend way too much time on the internet

Just this week—just this week!—I did a potentially foolish act by spraying Pam cooking spray onto the grilling gates with live fire underneath. It was my first time grilling a whole fish, and one of the suggestions was to spray cooking spray on both the grilling surface and the fish to ensure it won’t stick on one another. When I sprayed? Whoosh! Flames shot out from underneath. It was totally badass and totally irresponsible.

I was reminded just how dumb this was when I read in the Chicago Tribune that Conagra, maker of Pam cooking spray, was facing six lawsuits that alleged a faulty can design caused severe burns to users’ skin. According to the Tribune, Conagra manufactured a can with a vent on the underside that relieved pressure anytime it was overheated. One of the plaintiffs quoted in the story said she placed the Pam near a stove, at which point she heard a loud noise, cooking spray began coming out of the bottom of the can and “exploded into flames.” The woman said she suffered burns on 27% of her body and was in a medically induced coma for a week.

To be clear, the alleged faulty can designs were phased out last year. And though news of this lawsuit and my stupidity are only tangentially related, let it be a lesson: Don’t be a dum-dum like me and spray anything flammable into an open fire.


Read more about this story in the Chicago Tribune.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.

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Instead of spraying Pam on your grill grates, soak a paper towel in some vegtable oil and rub the grates with the towel. Not only will you lubricate the grates, but you’ll also clean them too.