Rice cake machines are designed for industrial or in-home rice cake making. The machines are automated and require little interaction from operators outside of adding a mixture of cooked rice or a rice-flour batter. However, the machines do have some dangers, such as moving parts, popping cakes and some potential health risks.
Rice Cake Machine Components
Rice cake makers vary depending on the size of the cake-making operation. Some limit interaction with the moving mechanisms inside as part of a single unit. Other machines have visible pressing mechanisms that show the processes of making the rice cake. The input compartment, where a rice mix or cooked rice is inserted, is covered by a lid, and in some devices allows the rice cake ingredients to slide into a press.
Most rice cake machines are designed to minimise safety risks to operators. A danger to physical safety exists from heat, such as risks for burnt skin. Home users should follow safety guidelines in the instruction manual for machines that require cakes be lifted from inside the machine. Use the proper tools required rather than bare fingers for removing cakes. Also, allow the machines to cool for a few hours before proceeding to clean them. Burning may also occur with contact to moving hot press components. For machines that make the press visible, touching these components may result in burns, especially if fingers get caught between presses.
Some at-home rice cake makers are designed to pop the cake out of the machine. The popping out of the rice cake can pose potential harm to children and individuals of shorter stature who meet with the popping cake at eye-level. Such individuals should wear glasses or stand at a distance out of range of the popping cake to avoid accidentally being hit by a cake in the eye.
Food Safety and Allergens
Rice cake machines can be difficult to clean. Ones such as the cake poppers and industrial machines must be cleaned carefully and routinely to prevent the growth of bacteria from cooked rice or rice batter inserted into the machine to make the cakes. Because peanuts and other allergens are sometimes added to the batter to flavour rice cakes, improper cleaning can inadvertently leave remnants of allergens in the machine.
Non-stick Surface Concerns
Some rice cake machine components may be coated in a non-stick material such as Sumiflon or Teflon. Burnt Sumiflon releases fluoride gas, which can cause eye, skin and nose irritation. Teflon has been linked to death or significant harm of pet birds. Read the manufacturer's label for notes if you have pet birds or are concerned about exposure to fluoride gas.