Is your Vitamix leaving black flecks in your food?

By Mike Pomranz
January 12, 2018

Vitamix blenders aren't cheap. If you already own one, we don’t have to tell you that. And once you’ve thrown down hundreds of dollars for a blender, you likely want it to stay in tip-top shape for quite some time. So when a Vitamix owner purported to notice that their blender was leaving little black flecks in their food, they wanted compensation. And thanks to a recently announced class-action lawsuit settlement, if your Vitamix is prone to a similar problem, you might be eligible for compensation too: either a $70 Vitamix gift card or a free replacement blade assembly.

The terms of the settlement went up on the site earlier this week, and it also briefly explains what led to the lawsuit to begin with. The plaintiffs alleged that the top seals of the blade assembly in some blenders “were defective because they deposit tiny black polytetrafluoroethylene (‘PTFE’) flecks into blended food and drink,” writes JND, the law firm behind the suit. JND goes on to explain that PTFE is a common non-stick material, and that neither the plaintiff, nor Vitamix, suggest that these flecks could cause any harm. Instead, the suit alleges that this alleged design defect simply makes the blenders “worth less than what consumers and businesses paid to purchase them.”

Meanwhile, as part of the settlement, Vitamix hasn’t admitted any wrongdoing and “denies that any of its products were defective in design, manufacture, or engineering and claims that Plaintiffs did not suffer any losses or actual injury,” according to JND.

“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,” Scott Tennant, director of communications for VItamix, told Consumer Reports. “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."

Still, if you own a Vitamix household or commercial blender with a blade assembly date included in range of dates between 2015 and 2017 (see details here), you have until September 28 to submit a claim to potentially qualify for “a $70 gift card to purchase certain Vitamix products or a free replacement blade assembly that does not fleck.”

Interestingly enough, though clearly these flecks upset at least one user, Vitamix contends it’s only been a minor issue. “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,” said Tennant.

Consumer Reports actually concurred. “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,” Cindy Fisher, a CR test engineer, stated. “Flecking didn’t occur during our tough durability tests either, in which we crush ice 45 times over a two-day period.” In other words, don’t go throwing out your Vitamix blender. It’s still in fine enough shape, and you paid a lot of money for that thing.