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Orville Redenbacher's popcorn caught fire in my microwave

Posted Mon December 1, 2008 9:20 pm, by maria v. written to Conagra Grocery Products Co

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While popping a bag of Orville Redenbacher popcorn Saturday night my microwave began to spark and caught fire. The entire inside of my mircrowave is destroyed. I had popped a bag of popcorn from the same box about 1 month before and the microwave began to arc in the last 5 seconds-I thought it was an isolated incident until Saturday night. I am positive it was the popcorn since it has never done that wih anything else. I can send pictures and the burned bag of popcorn. After researching online, I found I am not the only person this has happended to.

My mircowave is ruined and I want a replacement. It actually melted the metal on the inside.


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by tomliotta Posted Wed May 15, 2013 @ 7:50 AM

I popped a number of bags without problem, then a string of about a
dozen started to burn. My wife had similar experiences. After those
dozen, I started on-line searches and found that others were reporting
burnt bags.

After seeing that the dates on many reports were from 3-4 years
earlier, I got real curious about why I went so long before my first,
and then having it happen every time.

That's when I decided to read the package directions again for
essentially the first time since the beginning. And after reading AND
FOLLOWING directions, the next dozen bags have been perfect. I pointed
out the minor procedure change to my wife, and her problems also
totally disappeared.

The seemingly trivial change was that my wife had started placing a
paper towel on the rotating platter and I started removing it when
popping popcorn. The paper towel would collect little splashes from
various things that were heated and would be replaced regularly.

However, it's now clear that the directions on the bag that say "Do
not microwave bag on paper, plastic microwave cookware, or turntable
not originally part of the oven." mean exactly what they say. I don't
doubt that most people will claim they'd never go against those
directions, but I'd expect proof after what I went through.

by Jason S. Posted Thu September 22, 2011 @ 11:15 PM

I had a bag of Orville Redenbacher popcorn a few months ago sparking
or (Arching)I removed the bag right then and check for anything metal
in the microwave nothing there, I put the bag back in and it popped
like it was supposed to. Last night we put a bag in and it sparked
again I shut the microwave down and pulled out the bag and check the
microwave,and guess what NO METAL, and my microwave does not work now.
SO there is something in some of the bags or something causing this
problem for people. It has to be luck of the draw I guess.

by Carleyp777 Posted Fri September 16, 2011 @ 4:50 PM

Omg ... The same thing happened to me and my mom today... We r so mad
and are glad that we aren't the only ones with this issue ... My mom
cooked some soup and it was fine.. But the popcorn caught it on fire
and made it vibrate.


by Nate! Posted Mon April 20, 2009 @ 11:18 PM

Dont press the popcorn button.

by MARY M. Posted Tue February 3, 2009 @ 10:47 PM


Last week, we began to notice that when we would pop microwavable
popcorn, the inside of the unit would begin to spark or "arc" as it is
also called.

Now, we have had this microwave for a few years. It has never
"sparked" before. Then, suddenly with popcorn, the bag would pop a
few kernels, and it would spark (actually a rather startling little
light show in the microwave), and we would have to turn it off, and
restart it.

It got such after a couple days, that it concerned us safety-wise, and
we bought a new one. The popcorn pops fine in this new one.

My analysis is what was going on with the microwave? The "suspects"
were the operator, microwave, and bag of popcorn (any brand).

The operators were following directions and were not doing anything
different than before when we would successfully without sparking pop
a bag of corn.

The microwave could be a culprit just in the fact that it develops
"wear and tear." This could be very conclusive, but why just popcorn?
Also, one must make sure that there is no metal in the unit. Once
again, if there were some exposed metal, why just the popcorn.

Noticeable was that when the old microwave was in use with the popcorn
bag inside, it seemed that when a few kernels would pop, it would
"trigger" the sparking. Almost as if the unit became "agitated," and
would spark. An inspection of the actual bag was made to assure no
metal-type property comprised the bag (which would be quite negligent
by the manufacturer), and there were no metal indicators.

Ultimately, one could not get but perhaps a third of a bag of popcorn
after having to reset the microwave several times.

I did some studying on the Internet, and found others to face this
same problem. There were many opinions, but no solid reason was found
to be the cause of the sparking of the microwave while cooking

So, I will make my own conclusion that it is the combination of the
probable worn-out microwave that popcorn had an aggravating affect on.
The popcorn may have created an Electromagnetic Pulse that triggered
a sensation in the inner workings of the microwave. Hence, the
microwave would spark in response.

by KKXTCC Posted Mon December 29, 2008 @ 3:57 PM

This just happened to me but it was just arcing a little, that is why
I am here researching. I heard the arcing about 10 seconds from the
start, then I saw the arcing after about one minute. I turned it off
looked in the microwave for something that might be arching, I found
nothing. So I rotated the popcorn and started it again and popped it
successfully. This is the first time I have seen arcing in the


by PepperElf Posted Sat December 6, 2008 @ 11:14 AM

Firstly... if you suspect something made your microwave spark, the
last thing to do would be to try it again. I've had co-workers who
liked to nuke their ramen noodles and kept forgetting to take off the
lids and we'd get sparks.

However... the microwave survived a couple of sparks.

I'd recommend... ignore the pop-time on the bags. More often than
not, if you go by the printed pop time you may end up burning your
popcorn, because cook-times will very from machine to machine.

I find it's best to test it first... Put in a bag, type in the
recommended pop time, but take the popcorn out as soon as you get a
few seconds between pops. Keeping it in longer than that can give you
a smoking bag of stinky popcorn.

Keep note of how long the bag took to cook and use that as a
reference. I personally find the mini bags take about 1 minute and 20
seconds. (less if it's a 100-calorie bag)... but that's in the
microwave I'm using. If I go to another microwave it may be a
different cook-time.

Also... Just because you burn a bag of popcorn in the microwave it
does *not* mean the microwave is ruined, even if it smells bad. There
are a few remedies for getting rid of the stink - like nuking a
mixture of vanilla extract for about 30 seconds, and then leaving it
in the microwave to sit for about 10 hours.

And... if you do burn another bag... first thing you should do... take
the bag out (be careful because it'll be hot... and run cold water
into the bag. That will help put the smoldering kernels out and stop
them from smoking.

by cissy Posted Fri December 5, 2008 @ 5:20 PM

It sounds like the microwave(or operator) was the culprit, not the
popcorn.If this product could cause this type of effect I am not
ingesting it. It must be atomic!


by SueNY Posted Thu December 4, 2008 @ 7:35 AM

I agree with the other poster who said you probably have a metal shelf
in your microwave you didn't bother to remove. I'm glad no one was

Personally I think microwave popcorn is gross. I highly recommend
getting an old fashioned stovetop popper. Absolutely delicious, and
using real butter is better for you (and much tastier!) than that
nasty butter type stuff they use.

I don't think they'll replace your microwave but good luck!


"Personally I think microwave popcorn is gross." by What's all this receipt nonsense? Fri December 5, 2008 @ 11:44 PM

by dg132001 Posted Wed December 3, 2008 @ 7:22 PM

I've been popping microwave popcorn for probably 15 years or so, in
multiple microwaves and have never seen this happen. Has to be a
problem with your microwave.

by jeishere Posted Wed December 3, 2008 @ 9:31 AM

As and FYI, it sounds like you have metal shelf in your micro: "It
actually melted the metal on the inside." This shelf should be
removed when popping corn because once the bag is fully expanded, it
often comes in contact with the shelf which results in arcing. There
is a thin metal plate in the popcorn bag that makes it pop (that's why
it says "this side up") and metal's don't play well in the microwave.

I have some small arc burns in my mirco too because the same thing
happen. Luckly I was watching the popcorn and was able to stop the
micro as soon as I saw some acring.


by Nate. Posted Tue December 2, 2008 @ 8:48 PM

Like other commenters have said, there is no way of knowing whether or
not the popcorn bag itself was faulty- how can the company determine
that it was not operator error or faulty equipment?

I recommend that you move on, switch brands of popcorn, and get a new
microwave. Sh!t happens. C'est la vie. Kitchen fires are not common,
but they do happen. I found microwave ovens at Target for $60, so it
isn't that expensive to replace, and be thankful that it didn't spread
to other kitchen appliances. And remember to save your receipt.


"be thankful that it didn't spread to other kitchen appliances." by What's all this receipt nonsense? Tue December 2, 2008 @ 9:08 PM

by SuzieCat Posted Tue December 2, 2008 @ 4:58 PM

That happened to me recently. Scared me half to death. I took two
steps away to feed the cats while the stuff was popping and all of a
sudden BANG.

it was only maybe 45 seconds into the two minutes I usually set it at.
I just figured it was an odd fluke.

The inside of my microwave is brown in spots now, but I got the smell
of burnt popcorn out by leaving baking soda in a dish in the micro
wave for a couple days.


by dulynoted (aka duttycalls) Posted Tue December 2, 2008 @ 4:50 PM

If you get a new microwave please let us know...I think we would all
like to go out and get some O.R. popcorn and get rid of our old

Sorry...just kidding. But its not their fault. Many microwaves barely
fit the bag when it expands which can cause the bag to burn at the top
and even catch fire.
I stopped using mv popcord years ago...nothing tastes quite as good as
freshly popped from the popcorn machine or stovetop.
(Plus you do not get all those additives in it either.)


OMG by (What's With this Cheese Thing???) Peanut's Mom Tue December 2, 2008 @ 5:07 PM

I can't stand the smell.. by Just Plain Harleycat Wed December 3, 2008 @ 2:25 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Tue December 2, 2008 @ 1:21 PM

I had the same thing happen recently with a Lean Cuisine. Luckily, I
caught it before my microwave was ruined -- but when all was said and
done, you couldn't even tell it was food in the microwave, just a flat
melted piece of plastic!


I had by What's all this receipt nonsense? Tue December 2, 2008 @ 1:58 PM

by Bill R. Posted Tue December 2, 2008 @ 11:20 AM

Maybe an errant piece of aluminum foil or s misplaced staple?
No food producer is going to underwrite somebody's microwave not
knowing it's age, history and the like.

Maybe a coupon for a box of popcorn but that is about it.


by RowdyRetailer Posted Tue December 2, 2008 @ 9:03 AM

You really cannot prove it was the popcorns fault. Maybe your
microwave was on its last leg, and was about to die.

Our microwave died last year, but I did blame the maker of the food
which was being heated at the time for its death.

Good Day


by What's all this receipt nonsense? Posted Mon December 1, 2008 @ 9:59 PM

I'd want a replacement too. My oven manual says to stop it at the
first signs of scorching when cooking any food.

Here is what Orville Redenbacher's site says:

It sounds like this was cooked unattended if it melted the oven and
the bag is actually burned. It starts with some black spots from
arcing. But is takes several seconds of that before it catches fire.

I don't think Conagra is responsible for cooking food past the point
where no moisture is left in it. That sounds like operator error.


Orville Popcorn vs. Microwave by Yvette S. Tue April 26, 2011 @ 8:15 AM

Microwave arched by charleyit Fri August 23, 2013 @ 11:09 PM

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