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Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Recipe For Torts

That's not a typo in the title. Torts is the correct word. I'm not talking about tortes with an e, nor am I talking about tarts.  But this story does involve pastries.

Did you hear about the recipe for churros that resulted in explosions causing burns to the victims? The recipe was published in a newspaper in Chile called La Tercera according to several news articles. The victims sued the paper and won damages. After an investigation, it was found that the recipe produced "violent explosions" splattering the ceiling and the person preparing the recipe.
Flickr photo by Gabi Rondon

According to one article, the judge said that the recipe listed the wrong amounts of ingredients and that following the recipe made the damage unavoidable.

I wouldn't have wanted to test that recipe!

On this blog, I've mentioned before that frying food scares me. The splattering makes me way too jumpy. That's one of the reasons that I haven't made donuts or churros. Have you tasted churros? I had them once in San Diego and they were amazing! But I digress.

While this case was in Chile, it makes me wonder (maybe you too) about the liability in general involved with publishing recipes as food bloggers. I have no definite answer. And of course this is not legal advice, because everyone's recipe and situation is different. So please consult an attorney in your state (country) if you have a question. Ahem.

It usually never hurts to add a disclaimer, so maybe that might be a good thing for certain potentially dangerous recipes.
* * *
Along the same lines, I went shopping at Hannaford Supermarket the other day. I needed to pick up a few things, but my main reason was to get the new Fresh Magazine.

Sadly I was unable to get one. I was told that the magazine had been recalled and they were removed from all the stores. Yes, recalled. I've never heard of a magazine being recalled, so I had to inquire further.

The woman said that there was a recipe in the magazine with chestnuts, but that the chestnuts used in the picture to go with the recipe were not edible, so they did not want to mislead anyone and recalled the magazine.

I'll have to wait for the next issue. Probably a good move on the part of Hannaford's legal department. You just never know.

And now that I think of the line from the Christmas Song about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, that part suddenly sounds way more hazardous than merry. Maybe it's just me. 

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6 comments:

SharleneT said...

One of the joys of solar cooking is that you don't have to worry about kitchen fires. That said, I imagine wrong ingredient amounts would make a real mess if they exploded. My guess is that they used an expandable ingredient inside the enveloped item, then tried to deep-fry it... very dangerous. I had never thought of a disclaimer, before, even though Book 2 is ready for publication. Think I'll go back and add one. Thanks for the hint... hope you had great holidays. Come visit when you can.

Lisa said...

sharlene - Happy New Year! I do wonder about the recipe. Did it look obviously wrong to even an inexperienced cook and people followed it anyway?

I guess we'll never see it to figure it out. That's why we see such laughable disclaimers on products, because someone tried whatever freakish thing they are warning against and the company counsel figures they'd better protect themselves.

Best of luck with the new book! That's a nice way to start the new year. : )

dmarks said...

Makes me wonder if there is a "King of Tortes" chef blog.

Lisa said...

dmarks - LOL!I wouldn't doubt it!
: )

Can-Can said...

Wow - liability for a recipe. A magazine recalled. I guess as a lawyer you do see the legal angle of things. Interesting.

Lisa said...

can-can - This churro case seems pretty extreme, but most recipes do involve a heat source of some kind which always has the potential to cause harm. But moving that liability to the publisher of the recipe certainly is a reason to think twice.

 
Disclaimer: Nothing stated on Anali's First Amendment should be construed as legal advice. No attorney client relationships have been formed on this blog. © 2006-2014. Anali's First Amendment/Lisa C. Johnson. All rights reserved. Do not use writing or photographs without permission. Please read About + Contact for more details.