In a world fraught with physical danger, financial peril, and emotional strife, can’t we just eat our turkey burgers in peace?

Apparently not. Gloria Besley found that out the hard way when a Kirkwood turkey burger exploded on her stove, causing second-degree burns, scarring to both hands and forearms, and years’ worth of nightmare fuel for frozen burger fans everywhere.

To Burn or “to Fry”

Besley’s lawsuit claims she just following the “to fry” directions on the frozen turkey burger package, which read: “Preheat skillet on medium heat. Cook frozen burgers in a small amount of vegetable oil 7-9 minutes per side.” Soon after placing one of the burgers into the pan, however, the burger “exploded.” Along with the burns and scars, Besley suffered “permanent loss of use of a bodily function” and “loss of the enjoyment of her usual duties,” according to the suit, for which she is seeking $35,000 in damages.

Rather than sue the turkey burger’s manufacturer, Kirkwood, Besley filed her claim against the local retailer, Aldi, a German supermarket chain with around 20 locations in Pennsylvania. “[Aldi] placed into the stream of commerce a defective product,” the lawsuit alleges, claiming the store was negligent in allowing the turkey burgers to be sold without adequate warnings about burn risks.

Explosive Warnings

Manufacturers, and, in some cases, retailers may be required to include warning labels and instructions if:

  • A product presents a danger;
  • The manufacturer knows about the danger;
  • The danger is present when the product is reasonably used in its intended manner; and
  • The danger is not obvious to the reasonable user.

No, the danger of exploding turkey burgers is not obvious to the reasonable user. Whether Kirkwood, and more importantly Aldi, knew of the exploding turkey burgers is an entirely different matter.

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