Blame the consumer: Frozen foods shouldn’t have E. coli on them

My colleagues think I’m unavailable because I’m in Australia. Maybe they’ve never been in love, know that the Internet sorta works, and have utterly failed at supervising graduate students amy.doug.sorenne.xmas.12even though they are on campus.

It’s advanced learning.

Elizabeth Weise from USA Today reports that at least 24 people are sick in 18 states in an outbreak of a rare strain of E. coli that appears to be linked to frozen chicken quesadillas and other mini meals recalled by a New York firm Thursday.

Rich Products of Buffalo, NY has recalled 196,222 pounds of frozen chicken quesadilla and other frozen mini meals and snack items for possible contamination.

The outbreak of E. coli O121 was first detected by health officials last week. Samples of frozen chicken mini quesadillas produced by Rich Products tested positive for the strain of E. coli at the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratory, according to the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service.

The company posted a notice on its website saying “consumer safety is our number one priority and we are voluntarily recalling these products effective immediately.”

The company also said “each of our product packages contain cooking instructions on the back of the packaging that, if followed, will effectively destroy any E.coli bacteria. These preparation instructions have been validated following the Grocery Manufacturers Association industry protocol to ensure food safety.”

However food safety experts said consumers shouldn’t have to presume the food is contaminated. “These are frozen products that need to be cooked but they should not have E. coli in them, because most of the ingredients should have been processed before hand,” said Douglas Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.