Safety of Thermomix questioned after burns

By Karen Collier, John Rolfe

Thermomix TM31, a desired appliance for many home cooks. Photo / Supplied
Thermomix TM31, a desired appliance for many home cooks. Photo / Supplied

At least 18 people have needed medical treatment after being hurt using a Thermomix, an Australian consumer association claims.

In a new "mass incident report", Choice says Thermomix should have made at least 10 mandatory notifications to the safety regulator over serious injuries caused, or that may have been caused, by the $2000 kitchen appliance.

It is not known how many notifications have been made - Thermomix won't say and the regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission cannot, because Thermomix has insisted the information remain confidential.

Choice has catalogued 83 incidents involving TM31s and four about the newer TM5. It has sent its report to the ACCC seeking an investigation and official warning. The ACCC yesterday said it was "engaging" with Thermomix.

Holly Lacy of Coffs Harbour, who is recovering from burns suffered while using her Thermomix. Photo / Frank Redward, News Corp Australia
Holly Lacy of Coffs Harbour, who is recovering from burns suffered while using her Thermomix. Photo / Frank Redward, News Corp Australia

A defect with the TM31's sealing ring was listed on the ACCC recall site in October 2014 due to the possibility that hot liquid or food may splash out of the mixing bowl.

But in a statement in March this year Thermomix said "the TM31 has never been the subject of a product recall". It would not clarify this yesterday, although the ACCC confirmed there was a recall.

Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said it was time to put an end to the company's attempts to "downplay the danger this product presents".

"It is deeply concerning that, in a number of cases, when the company was informed of an incident they blamed the consumer by classifying the product's failure as 'user error'," Mr Godfrey said.


The burns to Ms Lacy's arm. Photo / Supplied, News Corp Australia
The burns to Ms Lacy's arm. Photo / Supplied, News Corp Australia


About 300,000 Australians own a Thermomix. Most are passionate advocates for the device.

Still, Mr Godfrey said the number of Thermomix incidents that led to hospitalisation or permanent scarring was "alarming".

Holly Lacy, 40, of Coffs Harbour, has second-degree burns from boiling water that "exploded" from her Thermomix on April 24.

Her left arm was scalded after she pulled a plastic cup out of the opening in the mixing bowl lid. It was not the original measuring cup meant to go in the opening. It had broken; so too the replacement.

"I haven't contacted the company," Ms Lacy, 40, said. "I know they'd say it was human error."

Mornington woman Adele Wishart yesterday recounted the horror of being splattered with scalding cauliflower soup when the lid dislodged and contents burst over her.

"I have never felt anything like that in my life, it is the worst pain you could possibly imagine," Ms Wishart, 51, said. "I screamed and when my partner came out he slipped in the soup. Even the ambos slipped in the soup. The soup was stuck to my body and retains heat."

Thermomix would not answer News Corp Australia's questions yesterday. Instead it issued this statement: "The safety, wellbeing and support of our customers is and always will be our highest priority. Vorwerk, the manufacturer is in contact with the relevant authorities regarding these matters. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

- news.com.au

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