Friday, May 22, 2009

Frozen Food, a Staple of the College Diet

...But should it be? The New York Times wrote a follow up report on the salmonella breakout two years ago, which was traced back to ConAgra's frozen pot pies. ConAgra's response? To transfer the responsibility to the consumer. ConAgra decided to repackage its frozen food meals with new instructions. The normal kill temperature for salmonella is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which means the inside of food needs to reach that temperature.

Do you know the temperature your microwave reaches? Do you own a food thermometer? Most likely not. NYT reporters tried to follow the new instructions, which failed to get the food to reach the kill temperature. ConAgra responded that they are aiming to get the food to be able to reach this temperature, as it is a "safety issue." But if it's a safety issue, why are these meals still allowed to be sold?

This all goes back to knowing the source of your food. If there were more transparency, American consumers wouldn't be faced with this problem today. What it boils down to... is the question of who's responsibility is it for food safety? Of course, it's debatable... but as a consumer, you are the one with the most at stake.

A follow-up comment from the American Frozen Food Institute can be read here. Comments from other NYT readers and experts can be read here.


  1. This reminds me of the bit of advice in one of Pollan's books: If you cannot pronounce the ingredients, think twice before eating it.

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