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Latest NutriBullet poses safety hazard

A blade on the NutriBullet Pro 900 can break, causing risk of ingestion

Last updated: September 26, 2014 05:20 PM

Update: September 26, 2014

We received notice from NutriBullet that the Consumer Product Safety Commission had concluded a preliminary investigation into the NutriBullet Pro 900 blender. The investigation did not lead to any regulatory action on the part of the agency—for example, a recall of the product. The company characterizes this as meaning that the NutriBullet Pro 900 presents no unreasonable risk of injury to consumers. Stating that Consumer Reports has no legal authority to declare that its product presents a safety risk, Nutribullet asked that we update our report and retract the Don’t Buy: Safety Risk warning. In response to Consumer Reports’ inquiry, a spokesperson for the CPSC noted that the agency never completely closes an investigation and is “always open to receiving more incident or safety information.”

Consumer Reports is not a government entity charged with determining whether or not a product is legally fit for sale; nor are we a compliance body or certifying organization evaluating whether or not a product meets specific government or industry standards. Rather, we are an independent consumer group that strives to provide information and recommendations based on a product’s performance in comparison to other products that are used for the same or similar purposes. We design our tests to evaluate products under conditions we believe consumers may experience over the course of using them. In the case of the NutriBullet Pro 900, we believe that experience includes crushing ice and that consumers should be able to do so without risk of a blade breaking off and creating serious ingestion hazard.    

The fact that the CPSC is not taking action with respect to the Nutribullet Pro 900 does not affect our Rating and we continue to judge this blender—marketed by Nutribullet as a “nutrition extractor”—a Don’t Buy: Safety Risk because of serious concerns discovered during our tough durability test, to which all blenders are subjected. For the reasons given in our original report (below), we continue to recommend that consumers choose a comparable blender, such as the Nutri Ninja Pro, whose blades did not crack or break when subjected to our ice-crushing test. 

This is not the first time we have identified a safety hazard in the marketplace even when no federal agency—be it the CPSC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, or other group—has taken action. And it won’t be the last, as we remain steadfast in our resolve to protect consumers from products that we believe pose a potential safety risk.

Original Story: July 10, 2014

"Even the toughest ingredients don't stand a chance," claims an infomercial for the NutriBullet Pro 900 blender, $150. That wasn't our experience in the Consumer Reports labs. Though the machine made an excellent piña colada and soup puree during performance testing, a blade cracked or broke on two separate units during our durability test, a stress test in which we crush seven large ice cubes 45 times to simulate rigorous use. One of the NutriBullet’s second assemblies (each package includes two) also had a visible crack. 

We are not aware of any injuries caused by this model, but because a broken blade fragment could be small enough to hide in a blended beverage, posing a potential hazard to users, we’ve judged the NutriBullet Pro 900 a "Don't Buy: Safety Risk." If you already own the product, we suggest you stop using it.

Response from the distributor. As we normally do when we find a safety concern with a product, we informed the company, as well as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, of our findings. NutriBullet, LLC, responded by stating that the machine is not a blender or an ice crusher and should not have been subjected to the ice-crush durability test, which we developed years ago after receiving increased consumer complaints about blender durability. The company added that crushing ice with the NutriBullet Pro 900, without the presence of water or other liquid, constituted a misuse of the product.

The NutriBullet Pro 900 is indeed marketed as a “superfood nutrition extractor.” Yet major retailers such as Amazon.com, Best Buy, and Walmart sell it as a blender, and NutriBullet, LLC itself compares the product to “other blenders” in its owner’s manual. What’s more, an earlier generation of this model has been in our blender Ratings for several years; it made it through our durability test without any trouble. As for the alleged misuse of the machine to crush ice, nowhere are users given this warning. We think it’s a conceivable use, and in an FAQ on the NutriBullet website, users are even encouraged to add ice to “NutriBlast” recipes because it “will give a slightly thicker consistency and nice chill.” And though many recipes call for water, there’s no explicit warning against using ice without liquid. 

A concerning pattern. This experience with a faulty blender blade is not an isolated incident. In July 2013, we judged the Calphalon XL 9-speed blender a Don’t Buy: Safety Risk after its blade assembly broke during testing. Calphalon later recalled the product, in conjunction with the CPSC. And the manufacturer fixed the problem, sending owners of the affected model a replacement blade assembly, which passed our follow-up durability tests. 

However, additional recalls of blenders from Vitamix (August 2013, models 7500, Professional Series 300, and Professional Series 750) and Frigidaire (September 2013, model FPJB56B7MS) for blade-related problems make for a concerning pattern. Consumer Reports will be proposing changes to the relevant safety standard for this product category.     

The bottom line. Given the potential safety risk posed by the NutriBullet Pro 900 Series, we recommend you avoid it in favor of a blender that performed safely and capably in our tests. One to consider: the Nutri Ninja, a $90 personal blender that made a very good icy drink, a superb puree, and completed our tough durability test without incident.

—Consumer Reports 

   

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