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How safe is your hot cup of noodle soup?

Nearly everyone in Albany has had a cup of instant noodle soup before, but many in New York may not know just how dangerous some of these inexpensive lunches can be. There is a growing concern that the instant noodles are actually an extremely dangerous food product that results in numerous burns to toddlers and young children.

NPR reports that many burn units in New York and across the country regularly see patients who burned themselves after an instant cup of noodles overturned on them. One doctor said that instant soup burns are, without a doubt, the most common type of burn his unit sees. During a nationwide survey of burn units, NPR discovered three-fourths of hospitals surveyed had several patients with instant soup burns each week.

So, what makes a Styrofoam cup of soup and noodles so dangerous? One of the physicians who regularly deals with burn victims tested how easy it was for containers to tip over on someone and discovered that tall cups with narrow bottoms are more likely to fall over than shorter and squatter cups. He tested 11 different types of instant soup containers and five easily tipped over at relatively shallow inclines. The physician told NPR that the simplest solution is to invert the cup and have the narrow portion at the top and the wider portion on the bottom of the cup.

Not only are instant soup cups dangerously designed, the contents make it more likely to cause deep burns. As compared to hot liquids, the noodles in an instant cu p of soup will stick to the skin and leave a deeper and more severe burn. The severity of the burns means that one in five children burned by instant soup need surgery.

Source: NPR, "Why Burn Doctors Hate Instant Soup," Mara Zepeda, Dec. 5, 2011

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