Bagel Danger

Americans ate an estimated 3 billion bagels at home last year, an average of about 11 per person (this doesn’t include bagels eaten at work, where a not-completely-insignificant number are delivered by bagel economist Paul Feldman). And in the course of slicing up all those bagels, 1,979 people cut their fingers so badly that they ended up in an emergency room. By the finger-cut-to-E.R. metric, that makes bagel-cutting the fifth most dangerous activity in the American kitchen. So it shouldn’t be surprising that an array of home gadgets have arrived on the scene to prevent bagel-related injuries. The Wall Street Journal has a lively review of several of them, here. [%comments]


Been there, cut that...


Time for a law suit. Everyone knows that bagels at home are commonly sliced prior to consumption. Yet these greedy corporations are making bagels whole, unsliced and are selling them to unsuspecting Americans. There needs to be a class action suit. Where is the Center for Science in the Public Interest?

Joe D

So 2,000 out of 3,000,000,000: we're talking under one-in-a-million. I'll stick with a bread knife, thanks.


This happened to me one time. The doctor at the ER said that Sunday mornings are all about bagel cuts and little old ladies falling in transit to or from church, so I'm surprised that this only happens around two thousand times per year.


What, then, are the 4 more dangerous kitchen activities?

Doug B

So what are the top 4?


re: top 4
From the WSJ article: chicken, potato, apple and onion.

tim torkildson

The bagel is a noble bread,
But cutting it produces dread.
Despite our latest gadgetry,
Sometimes it's like surgery.
To keep from growing wan and gaunt
I have switched to the croissant.

Tom Woolf

I am guilty of almost slicing a 1/4" disk off the top of my thumb almost 20 years ago. But, just like the child who was careless with a hot stove once, I learned my lesson, and pass it on to whomever I see slicing in a dangerous fashion.

FWIW - I have been hearing about how dangerous bagel slicing has been all through the past 20 years. The fact that there were under 2k emergency room visits is not too bad. I mean, a vast majority of those sliced fingers and palms have to be relatively minor injuries where the patient just needs help to stop the bleeding. It's not like chainsaw or ax accidents...

Oh America, when will you stop inventing useless things and start using your brains like the rest of world?


IMHO, the much bigger danger from bagels is the enormous amount of calories packed in them which lead to obesity, etc if eaten too often.

Bagels are a nice 'treat' once or twice a month but be weary of packing on the pounds if you have one every day.


This is consistent with the event televised on Jay Leno show on Thanksgiving when 5 members of the US fighting forces were challenged to open a can of cranberry sauce using a Swiss Army knife. It was an almighty mess as none of them were able to do it easily, one failed completely and at least one injured himself.

Am I the only on who finds it worrying that folks today are unfamiliar with basic tool use?

Chain Mail Glove Wearer

Why do you think they call the Emergency Room the Knife and Gun Club?

Bagels. That's why.


What year is it? 1989? Didn't we run through all these bagel-cutting devices 20 years ago?


It would really be a shame to cut a finger on a New York if it was on a Montreal Bagel, now that would be worth the sacrifice!

sharon isikoff

Not to mention the danger from breaking teeth and heads when encountering day old bagels, the greatest danger from bagels is actually obesity. They are far more calorie dense than toast and they just keep getting bigger and bigger, like us.


The second most dangerous thing in a kitchen - a dull knife.


let me warn you about swiss army knives.

some fifteen years ago it was very popular to give SAK for christmas. Everybody should carry one as they were useful tools. I guess it was some marketing blitz, as i am guessing the Jay Leno thing is the new blitz. Then it started as company trinkets that low level managers got for good work.

Anyway, they were given aas gifts around the holidays and we had four or five in different sizes. I carried one in my purse believing you couldn't live without one. I probably used it three times. Then about ten years ago I was admitted to the emergency room and they noted i had a knife. I was quite sure that i had no knife. They were acting as if i was carrying a weapon or could be homicidal.

Needless to say they marked on my permanent record, the ones that lawyers later request , that i had a knife and didn't want to admit it. It was only later that i realized that it was my swiss army tool. However, my permanent record is stained with an imcomplete story. Adjectives: Knife carrying,'combative.

This past summer when i stayed in an apartment with no belongings i used the same SAK to open cans for four months. I used the scissor tool to cut my hair. I used the other wrench and screwdriver to fix a couple things. I am sure now there is a generation of people without SAK so the marketing mentions will go around for a new buying blitz. isn't that how these blog comments work?

just be forewarned that you could be seen as a menace to society by nurse ratchett.



If the authors of this blog are going to bother to post on something like this, it would be nice if they at least wrote the piece carefully: 1) Ranking "most dangerous activit[ies] in the American kitchen" by the risk of cutting one's finger ignores the risk of other kinds of injuries (burns being the obvious type). 2) They appear to have ranked danger by total number of recorded emergency-room visits, rather than the number relative to the number of times that activity is done. The numbers in the WSJ piece say the number of emergency-room visits due to cuts inflicted while cutting pumpkins was more than half that from cutting bagels. Considering the enormous number of bagels consumed and cut, it seems likely that cutting pumpkins resulted in more serious injuries per item than cutting bagels. (Of course, carving a pumpkin probably involves many more slices ...)

Gita DasBender

A mandoline....and not the kind you make sweet music with.