That Time Aldi Got Sued Over An Exploding Burger

Care and caution in the kitchen are crucial to avoid injuries, fires, and other unwanted occurrences when cooking. However, a court case involving a woman simply attempting to whip up some tasty turkey burgers on her stovetop resulted in a painful outcome, even though the woman claims to have followed cooking instructions. As reported by WTAE, a woman was burned and permanently scarred in 2018 when cooking a frozen turkey burger patty she procured from Aldi.

According to complainant Gloria Besley, the package of Kirkwood turkey burgers she purchased had instructions for frying from frozen, which entailed heating a frying pan on medium and using a "small amount of vegetable oil." Despite reportedly following these instructions, the burger inexplicably "exploded" after being placed in the hot oil, which led to serious injuries. Seeking compensation for what occurred, Besley sued Aldi to the tune of $35,000. Besley alleged that the incident resulted in second-degree burns, which impacted her forearms and hands.

What happened to Besley's case?

Fox 35 followed up with Besley's case in 2020. It's not clear whether Besley received the amount requested in her original lawsuit, but the case was settled for an undisclosed amount. However, the terms of the settlement were not made available to the public and Aldi failed to respond to queries about the case. Here's hoping that Besley was awarded a fair amount for the injuries she incurred, as compensation would be needed to cover any present and future medical costs that resulted from the mishap. 

The other burning question is why did Besley's turkey burger explode in the first place? It all has to do with the large ice crystals that form on frozen food as it's being preserved in your freezer. Remember, when frozen food has large ice bits clinging to it, these bits can cause oil to splash out of the skillet as they quickly melt down and jump out of the pan, sometimes causing severe burns. Accordingly, you must use the proper cooking practices when frying anything, whether you're starting with a frozen piece of food or allowing time for the item to defrost gradually. 

Should you really fry frozen foods?

While the package of turkey burgers purchased by Besley did feature instructions on frying, the general recommendation is to thaw frozen burgers, whether made from beef or turkey, before frying for practical purposes. A defrosted burger will cook uniformly and quickly. It will also be easier to incorporate your seasonings, as salt and pepper don't cling as well to frozen meat. 

If you're short on time and can't wait for the meat to defrost, there are some proven methods you can use to reduce the likelihood of calamities. Begin by preheating your frying pan on medium heat for about five minutes. Next, add a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan. If you're worried that won't be enough to cook all your burgers, only cook a few at a time (while also making sure to leave a bit of room between each patty). Allow the patties to cook for six minutes or so, then flip to the other side for another six minutes. This cooking method ensures a safe and tasty outcome.