Salmonella Recall Notices No Match For Hungry, Oblivious Consumers

Look, when the Centers for Disease Control recalls your frozen pot pie because it’s contaminated with salmonella, don’t eat it. Sure, it sounds easy, but hundreds of consumers apparently fell ill in 2007 even after ConAgra yanked millions of contaminated Banquet pies from store shelves. So just who were these sickened frozen pot pie devotees?

People who couldn’t figure out how to use their microwaves.

Banquet pot pie microwave instructions might have been confusing because different parts of the package recommended different preparation times. Furthermore, instructions for microwaving time varied by wattage. Of 133 patients interviewed, 102 (77%) cooked pot pies in a microwave. Of 78 patients who used a home microwave, only 23 (29%) reported knowing the wattage. Of eight patients who used a microwave outside the home, one (13%) knew the wattage. Forty-eight (68%) of 71 who responded did not let pies stand the full recommended time after microwaving, and 16 (19%) of 84 cooked more than one pie simultaneously, indicating that many patients did not follow microwaving instructions.

The recall was announced on October 11, but people kept getting sick through December. They weren’t alone. Consumers slathered their sandwiches with salmonella-contaminated peanut butter for months after Peter Pan announced a recall. This is all by way of suggesting that now might be a good time to check our list recent recall warnings for anything that might be in your kitchen. You know, before you accidentally eat something contaminated for breakfast.

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Do recalls really work for frozen meals? For a few hundred sickened by ConAgra’s last outbreak, apparently not! [Marler Blog]
Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Associated with Frozen Pot Pies — United States, 2007 [CDC]
PREVIOUSLY: ConAgra Recalls Pot Pies Because Nobody Uses Their Microwave Properly