Portable butane cookers, also known as "lunchbox" cookers, were banned last month in the eastern Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) over safety concerns.

NSW Fair Trading commissioner Rod Stowe warned that such cookers have a risk of overheating and exploding.

"If these products malfunction, they can potentially cause serious injuries and I'd encourage people to stop using them," he said.

This was after a 33-year-old Australian died after suffering from 100 per cent burns to his body when one such cooker exploded and ripped through his caravan.


Singapore Civil Defence Force has issued a safety advisory on the handling of such cookers.

For safe handling:

  • Ensure that there are no naked flames nearby when changing the gas cylinder.
  • Keep windows open and the kitchen well ventilated while cooking.
  • Never leave cooking unattended or place flammable items near the flame.

If your wok or other cookware catches fire:

  • Cover it with a wet cloth and the fire will be extinguished. Do not pour water on it as the fire will spread.
  • Turn off the gas supply immediately.

­- David Sun