As the food supply chain gets longer and harder to control — food companies are basically giving up and placing the responsibility for food safety on you, the consumer. In fact, one food giant, General Mills, has essentially conceded that cooking their food in a microwave isn’t good enough.
From the NYT:
In addition to ConAgra, other food giants like Nestlé and the Blackstone Group, a New York firm that acquired the Swanson and Hungry-Man brands two years ago, concede that they cannot ensure the safety of items – from frozen vegetables to pizzas – and that they are shifting the burden to the consumer. General Mills, which recalled about five million frozen pizzas in 2007 after an E. coli outbreak, now advises consumers to avoid microwaves and cook only with conventional ovens. ConAgra has also added food safety instructions to its other frozen meals, including the Healthy Choice brand.
The problem, according to the Times, is that …”the supply chain for ingredients in processed foods – from flavorings to flour to fruits and vegetables – is becoming more complex and global as the drive to keep food costs down intensifies. As a result, almost every element, not just red meat and poultry, is now a potential carrier of pathogens, government and industry officials concede.”
ConAgra, whose chicken pot pies sickened 15,000 people in 2007, was never able to determine which of the many ingredients caused the outbreak. Yum.