Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Dark Side of Chicken Soup

“In August it will be so hot
I will become a cooking pot
cooking soup of course. Why not?
Cooking once, cooking twice
cooking chicken soup with rice.”
-Chicken Soup With Rice, by Maurice Sendak
Chicken soup is world renown as healthy and helpful - there's chicken soup when you're sick and chicken soup for the soul. But are you aware that chicken soup also has an evil, dark side? As reported by NPR in the story "Why Burn Doctors Hate Instant Soup", instant soups are a common cause of serious burns and scalds; with noodle soups the worst offender.
"Noodle soup is strangely perfect for delivering a serious burn. The sticky noodles cling to the skin, which leads to deeper, more severe burns, ... hospital stays for upper body noodle-soup burns are more than twice as long as scalds from hot liquids alone."
Part of the problem is allowing a child to cook or eat something that is scalding hot. The heat may come from a microwave or boiling hot water added to the soup. And even if your child is well-trained and super cautious, the problem with some instant soups is their cup shape with a narrow base make them prone to tipping. The soup is accidentally spilled and splashed with the noodles clinging and burning. The Chief of Burns at Shriner's Hospital for Children in Northern California examined several popular brands for the amount of tilt it takes to tip the soup.
The Burn Chief contacted Nissin and manufacturers of the "tippiest" cups with a simple suggesting, turn the cups upside down so they open on the narrow end like Yoplait yogurt. None of the companies responded according to NPR.

Bottom Line

"I don't have them in my house," says Dr. Warren Garner, director of the burn unit at University of Southern California's County Hospital in Los Angeles. "I would say that we see at least two to three patients a week who've been injured by these products."  - NPR story
If you buy instant soup, buy one that is bowl shaped with a wide base to reduce the risk of tipping over and scalding. And write to the makers of the tippy cups to let them know why you won't buy their product again.

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