In late September, the USDA issued a press release offering suggestions to American consumers on how to cook frozen foods more safely. The release came on the heels of research that revealed consumers may not know how to safely cook frozen foods. According to the USDA, in the study, 22% of participants said a not-ready-to-eat frozen chicken entrée was either cooked, partially cooked, or they weren’t sure that the product was in fact raw.
“Our research shows that home cooks should read product labels to understand how to properly prepare an item, and not rely solely on appearance,” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety.
Among the survey respondents who had experience with foodborne illnesses, 61% reported they did not make changes to how they handled food at home after being sick.
“While frozen foods are low risk as it relates to the potential for causing foodborne illness, we agree with USDA’s findings that there is room for more consumer education about food safety," said American Frozen Food Institute President and CEO Alison Bodor.
Bodor went on to say in a release, "USDA’s report underscores AFFI’s priority on ensuring consumers understand most frozen foods are intended to be cooked and that the safest way to consume any food is to carefully follow the manufacturers’ package cooking instructions, even if a recipe says otherwise."