NFPA discourages use of turkey fryers

Published on November 25, 2003

Latest trend may cause fires, burns

November 25, 2003—NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), a century-old, international nonprofit safety advocate, today urged consumers not to use turkey fryers when preparing holiday meals because of the dangers frequently associated with the devices. Tests have shown that the fryers have a high risk of tipping over, overheating, or spilling hot oil, leading to fires, burns, or other injuries.

The cooking method, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, requires placing the turkey in three gallons or more of oil, heated by propane. Some opt for frying, believing it delivers better taste and cuts down on cooking time. But the units have come under scrutiny recently as Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., an independent product safety-testing organization, has decided not to certify, with their UL mark, any turkey fryer. 

Some of NFPA's concerns about turkey fryers:

  • When the turkey is placed in the hot oil, oil may spill onto the burner, creating a fire.
  • The units can easily tip over, spilling hot, scalding oil onto anyone or anything nearby.
  • Most units do not have automatic thermostat controls, so oil may heat until it catches fire.
  • The sides, lids, and handles get extremely hot and may cause burns.

NFPA urges the use of cooking equipment that has been tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.

Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the primary cause of these fires.

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating scientifically-based consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. NFPA headquarters is located in Quincy, MA, USA.