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Oct 5, 2009 07:28 AM

Recall of Paula Deen Cast Iron Cookware

How cheaply made does cast iron have to be for it crack?- "Incidents/Injuries: ...79 reports of the cookware cracking or shattering while heated."

I think I'll stick to vintage cast iron or Lodge brand, personally.

Recall Alert
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
October 2, 2009
Alert #10-701
Paula DeenĀ® Cast Iron Cookware Sold by QVC Recalled Due to Burn and Laceration Hazards; Distributed by Meyer Trading Co. LTD

The following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Paula DeenĀ® Hammered Cast Iron Cookware

Units: About 51,000

Hazard: The recalled cookware can crack or shatter, posing burn and laceration hazards to consumers.

You can see the full Recall Alert, with pictures of the cast iron pans here:

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  1. This is very bad -- given that cast iron is such a mature technology. I don't have a Paula Deen cast iron cookware, but thanks for the warning.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Chemicalkinetics, You are the BOMB. It's been forever since I heard someone as reasonable as you on the net. Thank you, thank you.

    2. ALL cast iron cookware can crack. This typically happens when you take a hot pan and plunge it into cold water. Lodge has warnings to this effect right on their care label, and this is a known problem with cast iron, regardless of manufacturer.

      If the Paula Deen stuff just happens to be cracking more, that is another issue. Maybe it is thinner or not as well made, who knows, but it must be happening enough to cause a recall. To be fair, it could also just be that a lot of people who never used cast iron before were attracted to it as a result of good marketing and were trying it for the first time. New users might be more inclined to make the mistake of not letting the pans cool down before immersing them in water.

      Still, I would stick with the known brands. There are many, many more Lodges out there than Paula Deen pans, so I have to believe that they are proven. But you should still be careful, because it can crack regardless of the manufacturer.

      10 Replies
      1. re: RGC1982

        I can maybe understand someone cracking a cast iron pan by sticking plunging it in cold water, but these pans were apparently cracking or shattering while heating up. That's just plain crazy. How off did this mix have to be for that to happen? And what exactly was in their cast iron mix? I grew up in the little town that is home a major cast iron manufacture for fire hydrants, manhole covers, grates, etc...if you ever see EJIW stamped on any of them, you know its one of theirs (though now they've bought out foundries across the country).

        1. re: anniemax

          It sounds like these were just badly made if they were cracking during normal heating.


        2. re: RGC1982

          Plus Lodge is manufactured in the US and cracking makes me think the Paula Deen stuff is cheap Chinese crap.

          1. re: rainey

            I am still abit surprised because cast iron is such a very mature technology and Chinese have made cast iron for thousands of years. Technically, cast iron is invented in China anyway. In a Chinese restaurant, you will often see one carbon steel wok for and one cast iron wok and these cookware are heated to extremely high temperature compared to household situation and they get abused in kitchen.

            My guess is that the company which Paula Deen brand outsourced to actually did not do its job right and the metal wasn't cool down properly. Unfortunately, this is part of the globalization outsourcing. American companies would go to China (or any other country) and try to find a local company which can give them the best profit margin. i.e. the cheapest often. What this really means you can, on average, buy better Chinese products from China than buying a Chinese product with a American name on it.

            Think about it. Circulon and Anolon are Chinese (Hong Kong) brands. The really good ones launch their products directly and internationally So what you left with is the not so good local companies and sometime the really bad ones get to partner with Paula Deen.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              And sometimes they kill hundreds of their own children selling melamine as baby formula...

              1. re: rainey


                Absolutely agree with you about the melamine and people trying to cut corners to earn that excessive profit, but didn't the rest of the world also laugh at us and blame us for the banking finance problem? Like sometime we make tens of thousand people homeless by giving loans to people who cannot actually pay for their houses.

                Anyway, I think you and I are both correct but seeing it in different angles. The way I see it is a disconnection of responsibility. What happened in the melamine case if you remember is that small local dairy farmers dilute their milk and add melamine to try to cheat the test which detect nitrogen, right? The distributors which collected these melamine milk unknowingly then sold it. This is one case, where the small guys are the bad people. But it get back to the point that when you outsource work, when you put get product from one guy and then market with a bigger name, sometime there is a disconnection of responsibility. In the case of Paula Deen, it was international. In the case of the baby formula, it was domestic.

                My point is that: When a company makes good product like Analon and Circulon, then don't need to be marketed as another brand and there is a direct chain of command from manufacture to marketing, where as the Paula Deen is not.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Chemicalkinetics, you are amazing. Can I bottle you and take you home?

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Circulon and Anolon are owned by Meyer trading - the same people that made the Paula Deen pans.
                *edit* actually, it may be that this Meyer and the Analon/Circulon Meyer are different entities. Just a coincidence?

                I've heard really bad things about the source of CI for China made cookware - from scrap like engine blocks that contains lead and crap.

                1. re: Soop


                  That is bad. Although I wonder where the engine blocks come from, because China did not have a lot of cars. Well, maybe Paula Deen pans are distributed by Meyer trading, company not sure if Meyer trading made them. Moreover, I am not sure if Meyer trading is the same as Meyer corporation. Maybe.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Most iron and steel today is made from scrap melted in a cupola or electric furnace. The issue is not that of process but quality control.

                    Most impurities go up the stack or are skimmed off as slag. I have a bigger concern with radioactive scrap ending up in the melter.

                    My guess is that PD cast iron that blew up were poor castings that were mishandled by consumers who had no prior experience with cast iron.

          2. Lodge is the only domestic (US) producer of cast iron...Everything else on the market is (cheap) imports....

            6 Replies
            1. re: Uncle Bob

              Except that the enameled Lodge ware is made in China. Our L-series dutch oven was c. 4-5 years ago. I was kinda bummed b/c I'd specifically avoided Le Creuset in favor of buying "American."

              Look at the bottom right side of the page:

              1. re: ted

                That is correct...The enameled stuff is an import, but not the raw, or Lodge Logic product.
                I don't own any enameled iron of any brand...Have been tempted to give the Lodge a try...How has it performed/held up for you?

                1. re: Uncle Bob

                  It has held up very well. I think it's funny how they came out with the bright colors and then everyone else followed. They were all kind of muted prior to the Lodge enamel.

                  We do just about everything in ours. I occasionally attack it with a scotch pad or some Barkeepers Friend to get off any stuck on film.

                1. re: Soop

                  CAST IRON.......Not enameled Cast iron....

                2. re: Uncle Bob

                  That's why I now buy small logo griswold (i.e. cheap) on ebay. Got an 11" griswold from a good seller for $22. I knowit's not their best nor collectible, but hey, I'm not hanging it on a wall I'm going to use the sucker.

                3. The crazy thing about this is that most of that frilly celebrity endorsed cast iron made in RED china is more expensive than the domestic made Lodge! The older Lodge Wagner or Griswold is of MUCH better quality than the foreign made iron. If older domestic iron is bought used, it can be brought back to very usable life with a little effort. USA!
                  I feel that with 79 incidents it must be a manufacturing problem.