The Tefal Actifry electric fryer can overheat and burst into flames, the BBC television programme Watchdog revealed last night.
Groupe SEB, which supplies the product, told the programme that consumers should not be concerned. But an independent expert who tested the Actifry for Watchdog said the product should be recalled.
A consumer who had bought an Actifry explained on the programme how he had been cooking chips when he noticed sparks emerging from the back of the product and smoke from underneath.
His son’s product had suffered from the same problem and then the plastic had caught fire.
Watchdog took an Actifry to a laboratory for testing, which showed that the product’s fan could fail, leading to overheating and igniting of the plastic.
The programme said that the Actifry, which sells for around £130, had been on the market for some 18 months and that over 50,000 had been sold in the UK.
Groupe SEB admitted that some of the products’ fans had failed in use but said they were aware of only 221 cases.
The company told Watchdog that there was “no cause for alarm” and said that the Actifry was made of flame-retardant plastic. However, it has set up a consumer helpline.