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'Break-away' cord aims to make deep fryers safer

By Julie Vallese
CNN Consumer Safety Editor

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A new safety standard designed to prevent serious burns to consumers requires deep fryers to have electric cords that break away from the fryer if pulled.

The standard, developed by Underwriters Laboratories, was announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission Wednesday. The "break-away" standard also applies to electric fondue and electric multi-purpose pots.

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The new cord is connected to the fryer by a magnet. If the cord is pulled, it will break away from the fryer, preventing it from tipping over and reducing the chances of spilling hot grease.

Scalding grease has been blamed for seven deaths and 64 serious burn injuries since 1980, according to the CPSC. In each case, children pulled on the cord, resulting in the accident.

"This is the kind of creative product safety innovation we like to see," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Industry developed this new break-away cord to help reduce the risk of burns, especially to children."

Consumers should see the new deep fryers with the break-away cords in stores before the end of the year, the CPSC said.

Underwriters Laboratories is an independent product safety testing and certification organization.

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