Lately, I've realized that I could really use a couple additional fry pans for my home kitchen, so I did a good deal of research to find a good quality pan at a good value. In some old discussion threads, the Vollrath Tribute pans were recommended as a very good overall choice. I've never owned a Vollrath item before, but it sounds like they're well-respected. I pulled the trigger on two 10-inch Tribute pans, and they arrived today. As I was hand-washing them, I noticed something that bugged me: the sponge was catching at various places along the rim of the pan, and when I picked up the sponge to look at it, there was a small piece of metal lodged in the fibers of the sponge. A few minutes later, another small piece of metal came off.
The layer of 18-8 stainless steel on the pan's inside surface extends to the rim of the pan, but the very edge of this stainless layer (visible along the rim) appears ever-so-slightly uneven. This is where the small pieces of metal were torn off during washing. The edge is just barely uneven enough that a thorough scrubbing can tear off small bits of the interior stainless layer.
I'm concerned about this. As I understand it, small metal shards like that could be potentially dangerous if they were eaten (they could tear the intestinal wall). I think it's somewhat unlikely that metal would be torn off during cooking, but if a piece was loose enough, it could come off with little warning. Has anyone noticed a similar issue with other Vollrath Tribute cookware? Should I exchange or return these pans and look for a different model?