Scrutinous Eye on Frozen Chicken Labels

by 5m Editor
22 April 2008, at 11:49am

US - Food-safety officials are debating whether the packaging of many frozen chicken products bare adequate labelling to alert the consumer when the product is raw.

The officials are also trying to decide whether or not the packaging should include cooking instructions to ease confusion.

Stuffed chicken entrees — which look cooked because they're breaded and prebrowned so that the breading sticks — are blamed for five salmonella outbreaks since 1998 that sickened 71 people, Minnesota health officials say. For every illness detected, more go unreported, reported USAToday.

The latest outbreak, in Minnesota in March, occurred even though the products' labels changed more than a year ago to more explicitly state that the chicken is uncooked. "We've done everything we think is appropriate, but if consumer behavior hasn't changed, we have to deal with that," says David Goldman, assistant administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Some food-safety experts say March's outbreak indicates that the label changes weren't enough and that the products should be precooked or irradiated by the manufacturer so that bacteria is killed.

View the USAToday story by clicking here.

5m Editor