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Consumers who own certain Vitamix blenders can now file a claim online to receive a $70 Vitamix gift card or a new blade assembly as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement. The site, blendersettlement.com, went live Tuesday.
Vita-Mix Corp., which makes the Vitamix blenders, agreed last fall to a preliminary settlement of the class-action lawsuit involving blenders made between Jan. 1, 2007 and Oct. 1, 2016. Some Vitamix owners alleged that tiny bits of black nonstick coating in the blenders wound up in food and drinks.
About 6 million Vitamix blenders are affected, according to the proposed settlement notice. The company disputes this number and denies the allegations and liability.
“Vitamix does not know the number of blenders affected because not all blenders experienced flecking, but we anticipate that the number of claimants will be small,” says Scott Tennant, director of communications for the company.
Owners of the blenders will be notified about the settlement starting Jan. 2, via email or mail, using registration info provided by Vitamix and retailers’ sales information.
You can fill out the claim form online, or mail in a printed version. The cutoff to file is Sept. 28. The final approval hearing is on March 27 at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati.
The legal complaint does not allege any health risks resulting from consuming polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, the nonstick coating used on a seal for the blade assembly. Instead, the plaintiffs allege that “as a result of these black flecks, Vitamix blenders are worth less than what consumers and businesses paid to purchase them,” according to the notice.
Vitamix household blenders typically cost $300 to $700.
In addition to household blenders made between Jan. 1, 2007 and Oct. 1, 2016, this action affects Vitamix commercial blenders purchased between Sept. 15, 2015 and Aug. 9, 2016 (or before April 7, 2017 if they are XL blenders). The manufacture date is stamped on the blades.
The Vitamix Ascent, Explorian, and Venturist series blenders are not included in this settlement, since they were released after the company switched to a new seal, says Tennant.
“We’ve tested about 10 models of Vitamix household blenders, and we’ve never seen pieces of nonstick coating in our puréed soup or icy drinks,” says Cindy Fisher, the CR test engineer who oversees our blender lab. “Flecking didn’t occur during our tough durability tests either, in which we crush ice 45 times over a two-day period.”
You’ll find seven Vitamix full-size models in our blender ratings, including the top-rated Vitamix Professional Series 750. At $650, it’s among the most expensive tested. Any model made during the the specified time period is part of the settlement. If you’re shopping for a new Vitamix, it should have the new seal (shown below), but check the manufacturing date stamped on the blade.
“We have agreed to a preliminary settlement in the interest of putting this matter behind us, so we can continue moving forward with our purpose and mission,” says Vitamix’s Tennant. “The material used to make the old seal, a common nonstick composite used in pots, pans, and other cookware for more than a half-century, complies with FDA requirements for food contact.”
The new seal also contains PTFE, but it’s encased in rubber and will not come in contact with food, says Tennant. Plaintiffs had experts test the replacement seals and agree that they do not produce nonstick flecks, according to court documents.
“PTFE in its solid form is inert—that is, it does not react with chemicals,” says Don Huber, director of product safety for Consumer Reports. “If ingested, PTFE flakes simply pass through the digestive tract harmlessly.”
Full details on how to file a claim are available at blendersettlement.com. As a class member, you can object or exclude yourself before March 7. Questions? Call the claims administrator at 855-233-4747.
Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this website.
This article originally appeared on Consumer Reports.