Frozen, raw chicken entrees sicken 29

July 21, 2006

State health department officials are blaming undercooked frozen chicken dinners for sickening more than two dozen people in Minnesota since August.

Cooking instructions on the labels may not be sufficient, food safety officials said after 29 cases of salmonella were confirmed.

They recommend single-serving entrees -- sold in supermarket frozen-food sections under various brands as chicken kiev, chicken with broccoli and cheese and chicken cordon blue -- not be microwaved because of bacteria in the raw poultry, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said.

The Minnesota Agriculture Department linked salmonella outbreaks in 1998 and 2005 to frozen, raw chicken entrees. The director of the department's dairy and food inspection service says some consumers wrongly assume pre-browned entrees have been cooked and require only re-heating before serving.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has given manufacturers until Nov. 1 to revise labels to say the entrees should be cooked thoroughly in an oven.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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