ConAgra is voluntarily recalling their pot pies while they rewrite vague cooking instructions that led 160 people in 31 states to contract salmonella. ConAgra’s current packaging orders hungry consumers to microwave their pot pies until cooked thoroughly, an instruction most consumers can’t follow.
It is relatively easy to figure out when a hamburger is well done by checking to see that it is no longer pink. But it’s preposterous to expect consumers to know how the cooking power of their microwave compares with others.
Some have more watts than others, and the makers of ready-to-cook products expect you to know the difference.
For instance, the Banquet pot-pie instructions tell consumers to microwave the pie on high for four minutes if they have medium- or high-wattage microwaves, and six minutes if they have low-wattage microwaves. It says ovens vary, so cooking time “may need to be adjusted.”
“Even if I have a 1,000-watt microwave, how do I know if it’s high, medium or low?” said Douglas Powell, an associate professor and scientific director of the International Food Safety Network at Kansas State University.
ConAgra is the de-romanticized corporate incarnation of America’s bread-basket, controlling both generic and name-brands. The recalled 7 oz pot pies were sold under the following brand names: Banquet, Albertson’s, Food Lion, Great Value, Hill Country Fare, Kirkwood, Kroger, Meijer and Western Family. Affected pies bear a batch number on the side packaging reading either P-9, or Est. 1059. Consumers can return the recalled munchables to the store for a refund.