WalMart Uses NSF Certification of a Part To Certify A Whole


The back of the Walmart package shown is from a $16 food thermometer made in China for use in an American oven. It says NSF certified. Meaning?

As they master making things we once made, the Chinese will someday master use of our language describing how those things work. This thermometer was a challenge. It has three parts: A metal probe to be stuck into a roast. A display box to keep track of the roast’s temperature—but not to be put into an oven. A wire to connect the probe to the box.

Instruction #5 warns not to let the wire come in contact with a hot surface. I am not sure how Chinese ovens work, but mine gets real hot at 350 F. So how was the wire to do its part in keeping track of the roast in a 350 oven without coming in contact with a hot surface?

I figured it out. Periodically probe as follows: 1-Open Oven. 2-Probe while holding wire aloft and away from hot surfaces. 3-Read temperature. 4-Remove probe and wire. 5-Close oven. 6-Repeat steps 1-5 every 10 minutes.

Follow-up calls to NSF and WalMart revealed information useful to consumerists:
-The NSF “certification” was solely for the metal used to make the probe.
-The wire is safe up to 450 degrees.
-Walmart does not review instructions on their products.

I complained about the instructions. Walmart offered a refund or exchange for the device provided I brought it back. Nope: I wanted to keep the probe and be compensated for time wasted due to misleading instructions. Walmart mailed $25—in cash.

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