Dozens of people in Cuba have complained in recent weeks that croquetas made by a state company are exploding when cooked and causing burns. Cubans have shared images of burned faces — and videos of the croquetas jumping out of hot oil — on social media.
After a multitude of complaints, the state company, Prodal, admitted its croquetas are prone to “violence” and warned customers to prepare them carefully.
“It is a common mistake when frying them. The oil should be about 180 degrees [356 degrees Fahrenheit] the croqueta should be at room temperature and you should not fry many at the same time. In the case of the Croqueta Criolla, they have a denser mass, and they open up with more ‘violence’,” Prodal posted on Twitter.
Es un error común al freírlas.
El aceite debe estar a unos 180°, la croqueta debe de estar a temperatura ambiente y no freír muchas a la vez.
En el caso de la Croqueta Criolla al tener una masa más densa se abren con más "violencia".
Gracias por comucar sus preocupaciones
— Prodal (@Prodal_Cuba) March 31, 2021
Havana resident Anselmo López Galves suffered burns all over his body when he tried to fry the croquetas. Other customers also shared videos and photos of the explosions and their consequences on their social media accounts.
López Galves said he started frying the croquetas after buying them at a state market on March 24.
“To my surprise, these croquetas began to explode in my face, causing burns all over my body and disfiguring my face,” López Galves said on Facebook.
López Galves said the doctor who treated him at the Calixto García hospital assured him that several people had come the same day with burns, victims of the explosive croquetas.
According to official data, Prodal produced 20,000 tons of food last year, including sausages, cold cuts and croquetas, which are sold in government stores.
Raúl Rodríguez, sports editor at Radio Havana Cuba, warned Cubans of the danger involved in frying croquettes, which he said blew up in a friend’s face.
“Be careful with the croquetas,” Rodríguez said on Facebook, and wondered if some of the ingredients in the popular item are the reason they can explode.
In Cuba, a country suffering severe food shortages, croquetas are popular, especially among lower income people.
Prodal has launched a campaign to teach Cubans how to fry its product.
“For your Croqueta Criolla Prodal to be perfect you have to fry them correctly. Before frying, bring them to room temperature. Heat plenty of oil to cover them. Take care that the oil does not blow away, ” the company said on Twitter.
Many users responded to the post with demands for an apology from the company and for the croquetas to be recalled.
“Make yourselves responsible and compensate the victims of your ineffectiveness, irresponsibility and lack of professionalism,” José Núñez Carvajal said on Twitter.
Tweeted Daniel Granda Fernández: “They should stop production until the problem is solved.”