Cup Noodles: Don't Let Them Near Your Child

Categories: Talking Points
Jonathan Kauffman
Instant noodles, arranged in order of risk.
Instant noodle cups -- not the kind in packets, the kind you pour hot water into -- aren't just 69-cent easy meals, NPR reported this week. They're burn delivery devices, responsible for putting kids in the hospital every day.

The steep sides of Nissin's Cup Noodles package, a 2007 study found, and the fact that people pour boiling water almost up to the cup's rim, makes them likely to tip over easily. Washington D.C.'s KJLA television station, following up on the NPR report, found that Children's National Hospital sees around five cases of noodle-soup burns a week, some serious enough to require surgery because the noodles have stuck to the skin and produced severe burns.

SFoodie simply assumed that buying those 89-cent Nongshim bowls would solve the problem, but when we picked up one on Clement Street -- for research purposes, followed by lunch break -- we found the fluted, rounded bowl indents sharply at the bottom, tipping and rolling at the slightest touch. No, it appears we had to spend at least $2 on an instant bowl that has enough heft and width at the base to keep your family safe. Not coincidentally, it tasted much better. 

Or you can buy 50-cent packets of instant ramen and heat them up in a pot. The old-fashioned way. (Incidentally, SFoodie recommends IndoMie brand mee goreng.)

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How about serving the soup in another more stable container.  Making those kinds of decisions for a child is one of the responsibilities of a parent.


The study shows that these cups are uniquely dangerous and that kids (especially toddlers) are accidentally tipping them over.  It isn't a difficult fix (think redesign to look like Yoplait - wider bottom) but manufacturers have been indifferent.  If you would like to urge them on, sign this petition:


OMG! Let's ban hot food. Room temperature only from now on.

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