Public awareness of product defects and dangers can work wonders. This appears to be the case with the recent Israel consumer awareness program Kolbotek that pointed out the dangers of cooking with some brands of ceramic “no-stick” coated cooking ware.
Kolbotek caused panic among Israeli consumers when the show pointed out that some of the ceramic cookware brands, such as Neoflam, contain high amounts of poisonous metals such as lead and cadmium. While the jury is still out on the effects of the pans, stores are slashing the prices to get rid of potentially defective and dangerous cookware. Maurice’s images above and below, show us so.
Colorful, and cheap, ceramic cookware
As a result of the Channel 2 TV Kolbotek program, narrated by Rafi Ginat, the Israel Health Ministry has begun an investigation into whether some of the suspected cookware brands are carcinogenic and a danger to public health.
What became evident is that the brands that Kolbotek says are safe to use, such as Arcosteel and Kenwood, cost more than other brands, especially “house brands” sold by large supermarket chains.
To get an idea of what has happened to the ceramic cookware market, in the wake of Rafi Ginat’s whistle blowing, Green Prophet paid a visit to one of Israel’s largest supermarket chain stores to see what is happening regarding sales of these products.
Kolbotek’s Rafi Ginat
The results of the Kolbotek program must have had an astounding effect on the store’s sales of ceramic cookware, as a huge display of this cookware had been placed near the entrance of the visited store, offering this cookware at “70% off the regular price”.
This kind of reduction makes it apparent that the store wants to cut its losses and rid itself of this merchandise before the Health Ministry decides to force stores to take these products off the market. This investigation was reported in a recent Jerusalem Post article.
The JPost article added that it posed the question whether ceramic cookware is safe for public use to Prof. Itamar Grotto, chief of public health at the ministry. After a number of exchanges, he assured the Post that it was “safe” to use them.
Upon asking the same question again to Prof. Grotto, who has previously been involved in assessing selected environmental pollutants that people have been exposed to Israel, told the JPost reporter that he stood by his previous statement from last year, saying that ceramic cookware that had passed the Health Ministry’s “official standard” could be considered as safe to use.
Obviously, the official standard of the Health Ministry only applies to those brands that are considered safe to use. As for the others, as the old saying goes, one gets what one pays for. So if being on the safe side means paying the higher price for the certified brands of ceramic cookware, this is surely the best option if one wants to use this kind of cookware.
Otherwise, it’s a definite case of caveat emptor – let the buyer beware!
Top two images taken by Maurice Picow, for Green Prophet.