Blow on the pie! Hot food injuries on the rise

A Dunedin man who burnt his oesophagus on ''super-hot'' pie filling faces another pie on Monday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A Dunedin man who burnt his oesophagus on ''super-hot'' pie filling faces another pie on Monday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The police warning to ''always blow on the pie'' is advice more Otago residents should heed, as hot food injury rates begin to boil over.

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) figures released under the Official Information Act revealed more Otago people were injuring themselves on hot food, despite a national decline.

In the ''what you were doing'' section of the ACC claim form, 92 Otago people injured themselves with something ''hot'' or ''heated'' last year - a 37% increase from the 67 injured people in 2011.

An ACC spokeswoman said the claims included exterior burns after a diner dropped hot noodles on themselves and interior burns when diners ate hot fish and hot pies.

A Dunedin man (48), who did not want to be named, said he had his injury logged with ACC after he burnt his oesophagus on the filling of a mince and cheese pie.

He had reheated the pie in a 630W microwave at his workplace, as he had many times before.

''When I reheat a pie in the microwave, I put it in the same spot and for the same time - 55 seconds.''

However, the pie had been off-centre in the microwave and he had unknowingly heated it unevenly, he said.

On his second bite, he burnt himself on the ''super-hot'' pie filling.

He had swallowed the second bite at speed, assuming the second mouthful would be the same temperature as the first, he said.

His oesophagus remained sore a week later and his doctor logged his gullet injury with ACC in case surgery was needed, he said.

The injury healed naturally but he could not eat another pie for a month, he said.

Hot food injury rates cooled nationally, with a 2% decrease from 1861 claims in 2011 to 1809 last year.

Southland's statistics simmered, with 22 injuries last year, the same number as in 2013.

A New Zealand police officer gained a global audience after providing pie-eating advice to an alleged offender in 2009.

Sergeant Guy Baldwin, of Auckland, advised a potential car thief to ''always blow on the pie'' in the television show Police Ten 7.

Since the segment was uploaded to YouTube it has been viewed nearly 500,000 times.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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