Folks, is there anything that the Instant Pot can’t do? It is America’s most evangelized kitchen appliance for a reason, able to perform any task you demand of it: Bake. Stew. Slow cook. Roast. Steam. Warm up your shitty takeout. It can even make some wine, as I wrote in an extremely important blog about this very subject last week.
Well, I’ve got some great news: In some news that bears some fuzzy similarities to that plot point from This Is Us, it can also set itself on fire!
Last Thursday, Instant Pot's parent company, Double Insight, issued a voluntary recall for the Instant Pot's Gem 65 8-in-1 multicooker, the only ovular product in Double Insight's stable, due to 107 cataloged reports of overheating that led to localized damage on the underside of the units. Five of those reports had led to "minor property damage," according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, though no injuries had been reported at the time Double Insight issued the recall.
Manufactured in Guangdong, China, the Gem multicooker is a Walmart-exclusive product. The recall affects 104,000 units sold between August 2017 and January 2018. It’s unclear whether models sold after that date have remedied the issue at hand; Double Insight did not respond to immediate request for comment from MUNCHIES on Monday for further clarification. The unit does not, as the Washington Post noted last month, have a pressure cooking functionality.
Double Insight has now set up a dedicated site for this recall, with a semi-exhaustive FAQ section that addresses possible remedial routes for affected customers. The company advises that consumers look on the rear of their models for batch codes 1728, 1730, 1731, 1734, and 1746, written on the bottom right of the labels. Anyone who's affected should immediately stop using the multicooker, unplug it, and return your unit to Walmart, the company recommends. (If you’re not within driving distance of a store, you can ask Double Insight for a shipping label.) Double Insight also cautions that customers should still follow this protocol even if their units appear not to be self-immolating.
Walmart did not respond to immediate request for comment regarding how many returns it's received since Double Insight issued the recall, and how swiftly it plans to issue replacements in the event that units aren't on hand. (Let’s hope it doesn’t hit the same snag as Cuisinart, whose replacement blades for recalled food processors took eons to arrive after a December 2016 recall.)
Double Insight began publicly reckoning with the troubles posed by the Gem multicooker in late February, when the company stated on Facebook that it had received a "small number of reports” of overheating on the unit. The company attributed this issue to a "tooling misalignment" that occurred during the manufacturing process, which "created a gap between the bottom of the inner pot and the top surface of the heating plate in the product."
The problem swelled considerably since then, resulting in last week's recall. Some customers, as is made clear by the ruthless comments on the Facebook post announcing the recall, felt the move came far too belatedly (“Took this junk back to walmart before it burnt down the house,” one said. This recall should of [sic]came before now and instant pot knows it.”)
In any event, you heard the company. If you’ve got a Gem multicooker, stop, drop, and roll that baby to your nearest Wally World.