Pyrex-Maker Slams Trade Publication

      CHICAGO (CN) – The maker of Pyrex glassware claims in court that the American Ceramic Society disparaged its U.S.-made product in a “sensational” article that said it was more likely to shatter than foreign-made glassware.
     World Kitchen sued the American Ceramic Society (ACS); Peter Wray, the editor of The American Ceramic Society Bulletin; and the co-authors of the article, Richard Bradt and Richard Martens, in Federal Court.
     In its September issue, “Shattering Glass Cookware,” the defendants claimed that “American-made glass cookware, including Pyrex brand glass cookware made by World Kitchen, is unsafe for typical cooking in consumers’ kitchens, poses a significant risk of injury to consumers, and is substantially less resistant to breakage during normal use in consumers’ kitchens than foreign-made glass cookware,” according to the complaint.
     “Despite the fact that hundreds of millions of household cooks have used more than a billion of pieces of Pyrex glass cookware safely in their kitchens for generations, and with knowledge of the information and data confirming Pyrex’s exemplary safety record, the defendants launched a sensational, multi-publication campaign of disparagement against American-made glass cookware, including Pyrex glass cookware, alarmingly and falsely claiming that Pyrex glass cookware does not provide an adequate margin of safety for typical kitchen cooking, including for making recipes from the well-known cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking,’ and falsely claiming that Pyrex glass cookware poses a significant risk of injury from ‘shattering’ or ‘exploding’ cookware, when, in fact, this is not the case.
     “Prior to publishing their sweeping, alarming and highly disparaging assertions
     falsely impugning the safety of the entire American glass cookware industry, including Pyrex glass cookware, the defendants conducted no testing of American-made or foreign-made products in normal cooking conditions to substantiate their false and disparaging comparative claims that American glass cookware, including Pyrex glass cookware, is multiple times more susceptible to breakage during normal use in consumers’ kitchens and less safe than foreign-made glass cookware.”
     Pyrex glass cookware is used in about 90 million U.S. homes, or 80 percent of U.S. kitchens, according to the complaint.
     World Kitchen says that Pyrex has an exemplary safety record, and that “consumer reports of injuries attributed to breakage of glass cookware from any cause, including incidents that involve product misuse or another manufacturer’s brand, represent only a tiny fraction of a percent of the Pyrex glass cookware used in American kitchens for generations.”
     ACS claims its Bulletin is objective and peer-reviewed, but it “deceptively and improperly failed to disclose the highly material fact that defendant Bradt is currently engaged as a paid consultant and ‘expert’ in a pending matter adverse to a maker of American-made, heat-strengthened soda lime glass cookware disparaged by defendant Bradt and his co-defendants in their publications,” the complaint states. World Kitchen says it demanded a retraction on Sept. 22, but the defendants “provided no substantive response”.
     World Kitchen claims that in comments to Discover Magazine’s coverage of the article, “consumers have specifically stated that they would not purchase new Pyrex-brand products, but would instead purchase ‘alternate brands’ that use borosilicate glass or would purchase from ‘second hand shops’ older Pyrex products that are made of borosilicate glass. According to one consumer, ‘It’s a shame, as I love my old Pyrex bakeware but will no longer be buying new Pyrex. Will have to go to metal for baking and plastic for measuring cups where temperature changes are involved.’ These consumers and many others have been unnecessarily frightened into a false belief that Pyrex is unsafe as a direct result of defendants’ actions,” World Kitchen claims.
     World Kitchen demands a retraction and apology, a corrective press release, and wants the defendants ordered to remove the article from its website.
     It is represented by Kenneth GoodSmith with GoodSmith, Gregg & Unruh in Chicago, and Kerrie Campbell with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in Washington, D.C.

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