Salmonella? E. Coli? You're on your own

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General Mills' Totino's and Jeno's brand frozen pizzas were recalled in 2007 after E. coli was detected.

The New York Times' business section ran a semi-alarming article last Thursday on how companies that manufacture processed food are "[i]ncreasingly ... unable to guarantee the safety of their ingredients." The article goes on to say, "almost every element [of processed foods], not just red meat and poultry, is now a potential carrier of pathogens, government and industry officials concede." I'm sorry, what?

Some of the largest companies, such as ConAgra, Nestlé and the Blackstone Group, admit, according to the article, that they are increasingly relying on consumers to ensure their own safety when consuming their products, which typically means heating them to an appropriately high temperature for an appropriate amount of time in order to kill all potential bacteria. No problem, right? Well, not exactly, the article points out.

More about the safety of your food after the jump.

The article says that its own team was unable to uniformly heat a frozen pot pie to the 165 degrees required in order to kill off all pathogens without burning it. Some companies, like Minnesota's General Mills, even go so far as to advise against using microwave ovens to cook its frozen foods as it can be difficult to verify their intensity.

A man whose one-year-old daughter sickened and had to be hospitalized after being fed a frozen pot pie, stated the conflict well. "I do think that consumers bear responsibility to reasonably look out for their well-being, but the entire reason for this product to exist is for its convenience."



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