Following advice and testing by certifying bodies responsible for gas safety certification, NSW Fair Trading has warned consumers of safety concerns surrounding portable butane ‘lunchbox’ style gas cookers (also called portable gas barbeques). Under this warning, the products have been removed from sale in NSW.
These products are often used when picnicking, camping and caravanning. Recent testing by certifying bodies found the products’ shut-off and safety valves failed to operate once heat was dispersed over the butane gas cylinder. This means they could overheat and possibly explode, causing serious injury. The tests concluded that the products did not meet the safety requirements under the Australian Standards and they have since been removed from sale in NSW.
NSW Fair Trading is continuing to monitor the suspension from sale of these products. We have been working with suppliers and manufacturers across the State to ensure products are removed from shelves.
Do not to purchase these products if they appear on display. If you see these cookers for sale please report this to Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or lodge a complaint. All information is treated confidentially.
If you have a lunchbox cooker:
Fair Trading will warn consumers and update this information based on any further advice received from the gas certifying bodies.
These questions and answers provide further consumer advice and information following the March 2015 warning by Fair Trading on lunchbox cookers.
A portable butane cooker (aka lunchbox cooker or portable gas barbeque) is designed to be used with small butane canisters. The cookers are commonly used for camping and caravanning. They are often sold with a plastic case for portability.
In 2014, tests on these cookers were conducted by two of Australia’s gas certifying bodies (AGA and SAI Global), resulting in an 84% failure rate against the Australian Standard relating to the overpressure device more commonly referred to as the shut-off valve. Fair Trading and other state regulators then asked that the certifying bodies re-test six models straight from the marketplace. These tests confirmed non-compliance with the Australian Standard and the certifying bodies immediately moved to suspend the approval certificates.
Overheating of the butane canister and failure of the shut-off valve are the main concerns.
As the suspended portable butane cookers pose significant safety risks, consumers are urged not to use them. There have been reported incidents across Australia and NSW. Some have resulted in injury ranging from scalding to serious burns. One incident involved a mother and her teenage son receiving burns after standing near a cooker when it exploded. The son sustained significant burning to his legs, requiring several operations and ongoing medical treatment.
Cookers must comply with an Australian Standard before being certified and approved for sale. Testing found the overpressure devices (or ‘shut-off’ valves) do not operate at their intended level and therefore are non-compliant.
On most models, it was also found that the part of the shut-off valve protrudes from the appliance allowing debris etc. to block this integral component from properly operating, in breach of the Standard.
The list of products suspended from sale is simply to identify the cookers that are currently in the market and that are being removed from sale. It is not intended to be a complete list of all cookers that are unsafe, as other models and brands may have been available in the past. The list is being kept up-to-date with any lunchbox cookers in the market subsequently found to have breached Australian Standards related to gas safety. If you purchased a lunchbox style cooker (whether on the list or not, whether bought recently or at any time in the past), Fair Trading recommends, for your safety, that you stop using it and safely dispose of both the cooker and the canister through an appropriate community waste or recycling centre. The NSW Environment Protection Authority has information about recycling locations.
The ‘stop sale’ relates to single burner portable butane cookers and has been updated to include certain double burner models (also known as dual burners).
Further to concerns related to double canister burners, certifying bodies did further tests on these burners and found that certain models failed the safety tests. They have since been added to the items suspended from sale (refer to the table on this page).
If you have a double burner cooker, we recommend that you bookmark this page and check the table below for updates.
If your double burner cooker is NOT suspended from sale, you need to consider the risks associated with these products. Carefully follow the user instructions. Always allow for adequate air flow. Never use the canisters in a way that overheats them, as this contributes to canister explosions. As such, you should never:
Fair Trading urges you not to use your portable butane cooker.
Under Australian Consumer Law (ACL) you may be entitled to a refund if you can show proof of purchase, and you should seek to do so as soon as possible. To be granted a refund, the cookers would have to be relatively undamaged. The ACL allows the return of a non-compliant item within a reasonable time period from when the defect (or non-compliance in this instance) became apparent.
Some manufacturers are recalling their products. For information on the national recalls, please refer to the Product Safety Recalls Australia site.
Otherwise, seek the best method of disposal by contacting your local council or the NSW Environment Protection Authority. Both offer the Household Chemical CleanOut or you can locate a Community Recycling Centre where butane canisters can be safely disposed of.
Fair Trading has been concerned about the safety of these appliances due to several incidents of explosions resulting in injury. However it appeared that misuse rather than non-compliance with the Australian Standards contributed to these explosions. In 2014, in light of these incidents, state regulators including Fair Trading worked with two of the gas certifying bodies to re-test these cookers. These tests found the appliances to be non-compliant to the Australian Standards. This resulted in the certifying bodies suspending the approval certifications in February 2015.
The certifying bodies have suspended issuing certification approvals on non-compliant lunchbox cookers Australia-wide. Fair Trading supports the decision to suspend these approvals based on recent testing of market models that showed clear non-compliance to the Australian Standard.
As the consumer protection regulator in NSW, we are warning the NSW community of our concerns regarding the safety of continuing to use these goods.
To help protect consumers and remove non-compliant burners from the marketplace, Fair Trading introduced an immediate ‘stop sale’ of single burner portable butane cookers. We were also concerned with double burner models, which led to further testing by the certifying bodies and the removal of certain double-burner models from the NSW market since found to breach the Australian Standard.
There is no NSW recall at this stage, as the suspension of the certificates immediately removes all the non-compliant cookers from the marketplace. However, some manufacturers are recalling their products. For information on the national recalls, please refer to the Product Safety Recalls Australia site.
Fair Trading will continue to work with the certifying bodies and other regulators. We will monitor the effect of the suspension of approvals and continue to concentrate on ensuring they are no longer sold.
The pictures of portable butane cookers below are examples of some models captured in the stop sale.
The pictures of the damaged cookers are actual cookers that have been provided to Fair Trading for examination after they have failed. These pictures serve as a warning to consumers of the dangers associated with these cookers when they do fail.
Fair Trading has become aware of several incidents of failures and has investigated those within NSW. If you have experienced an incident using a lunchbox cooker, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to report it.
Check this table for updates of models suspended from sale. The list applies to single burner models and certain double burner models.
Note that some manufacturers are recalling their products including OZtrail, AHM limited, Auscrown, Chen Bros and Sitro Group. For information on the national recalls, please refer to the Product Safety Recalls Australia site.
Portable Butane Cookers (currently suspended)
|Bai Hui Portable Camping Stove||N/A|
|Gasmate (Double Burner)||PC2080|
|Campmaster (Double Burner)||CM2250|
|Illusion (Double Burner)||UBute|