Why do media care more about SpaghettiOs that haven’t made anyone sick than frozen chicken thingies that have sickened 30 with Salmonella?

SpaghettiOs have far greater cultural resonance than some fancy pants Marie Callender’s frozen dinner thingies. Who didin’t love SpaghettiOs as a kid, like Stay Puft Marshmallows (right, exactly as shown).

It’s the best explanation I have for why the SpaghettiOs story, involving a product which was recalled but has made no one sick, is getting far more media attention than the frozen food – which has made at least 30 people sick and highlights an on-going problem with the frozen, not-ready-to-eat products proliferating at grocery stores.

For Father’s Day, Amy went out for a couple of hours while Sorenne was sleeping and picked up a couple of those Marie Callender frozen pot pies; not the recalled ones but some others. It was a gift.

None of the material provided by ConAgra or state and federal health types has accurately described the product: do these pot pies contain raw ingredients and therefore need to be cooked to a temperature-verified 165 F, and if they do contain raw ingredients, why?

The label on Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie says it’s made from scratch – does that mean all the salmonella and campylobacter is included – and to keep frozen and must be cooked thoroughly.

The box containing the fancy pants pot pie says to microwave in nothing less than an 1100W microwave (if you can figure out where to determine a microwave’s wattage) for a long time. And use a meat thermometer.

I look forward to the publication in a peer-reviewed journal regarding consumers’ response and understanding of the new groovy labels that say use a meat thermometer to verify a pot pie is cooked. I did it, but I’m a nerd (left).

ConAgra, are raw ingredients being used or was this another failure in your awesome HACCP program?

After ConAgra’s Banquet pot pie mess of 2007 which sickened 400, why are these companies still using raw salmonella-stained ingredients in their pot pies, regardless of the fancy pants label.

Politicians don’t help, somehow equating the two incidents and using them for political leverage. Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro said Friday, with a straight face.

“These recalls are very disturbing considering that the timeframe in which the SpaghettiOs were produced spans nearly two years. The volume of potentially dangerous products is significant, and it is frightening that millions of children may have unknowingly consumed these recalled products given the popularity of SpaghettiOs among kids. While these recalls and investigations are still ongoing, I look forward to learning from USDA about the circumstances that allowed two years of potentially dangerous foods to enter the market place.”

It was a manufacturing problem that was eventually caught, probably by the company and not the U.S. Department of Agriculture. No one is sick; it’s precautionary. But way to invoke kids and fear.

“This recall, combined with the recall of the Marie Callender’s frozen meals that have sickened over two dozen people in 14 states, serves as a reminder that after we must begin the process of reviewing how the food safety system at USDA should be reformed.”

Political opportunism. What must be reformed is the way companies – and it’s frequently ConAgra – process and produce these frozen chicken dinner thingies and they should stop blaming consumers. Lawsuits and embarrassment work far faster than political change.

We had roast chicken for dinner — the temp was at 165F by the time it was served.