Noodle soup cups present an unnecessary danger
What if packaging was so poorly designed that it actually caused the product it contained to injure people? That is what recent studies have shown about popular noodle soup cups. As reported by National Public Radio in December of 2011, noodle cups have design flaws that allow them to tip over far too easily. Dr. Warren Garner, director of the burn unit at the University of Southern California’s County Hospital, called the noodle cups a “uniquely troublesome product.”
According to Dr. Garner, the popular cups of instant noodles are dangerous because the cups are typically tall, light and have an unstable base. This allows them to tip over very easily. Dr. Garner told NPR that children were most at risk, as they can accidentally pull the hot soup onto themselves, burning their upper body, groin and lap.
Ron Brown, a partner at St. Louis injury law firm Brown & Crouppen, agrees that noodle cups present a troubling design flaw. “Hot liquid can injure your skin at only 135° Fahrenheit but these noodle soup cups are boiling hot after being heated in the microwave”, said Brown. “The containers, apparently by design, tip over quite easily. It is an unnecessary danger.”
Exacerbating the problem is the noodles themselves. Noodles hold heat longer than liquid and they stick to the skin. This allows the noodles to cause deeper and more serious burns. Very serious burns can require surgery, lead to permanent disfigurement and cause joint immobility.
Dr. Garner told NPR that he won’t have any of the soup cups in his home. Brown’s law partner, Terry Crouppen, echoed this advice. “Don’t serve soup in these cups to small children. Pour it in a shallow bowl and let it cool. I know this seems obvious but the best injuries are the ones that never happen in the first place.”