Microwaves are great for reheating, not so great for cooking

An outbreak of salmonella in raw, frozen, breaded stuffed chicken has sickened 32 people in 12 states. As the number of frozen, meal solutions increase – chicken kiev, cordon blue, strips, nuggets and others – a Kansas State professor is warning consumers to be careful with that entrée.

“Some of these frozen meals are fully cooked and just need to be reheated, and some are raw,” says Dr. Doug Powell, associate professor of food safety at Kansas State University. “It doesn’t seem fair, but consumers really have to read the labels. Raw product should always be cooked in an oven, not a microwave, and needs to be checked with a digital, tip-sensitive thermometer to make sure the food has reached a safe temperature of 165F.”

Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Health notes that this is the sixth outbreak of salmonellosis in Minnesota linked to these types of products since 1998. The findings prompted the officials to urge consumers to make sure that all raw poultry products are handled carefully and cooked thoroughly, and to avoid cooking raw chicken products in the microwave because of the risk of undercooking.

A table of the relevant outbreaks is available at http://www.foodsafety.ksu.edu/en/article-details.php?a=3&c=32&sc=419&id=1245

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