April 23, 2008
US officials discuss labelling of frozen chicken products
US food safety officials are discussing whether frozen chicken products bear adequate labelling to inform the consumer when the product is raw.
Stuffed chicken entrees - which look cooked because they are breaded and pre-browned - have been blamed for five salmonella outbreaks that caused 71 people to fall sick since 1998, according to Minnesota health officials.
USAToday reported that for each detected illness, more go unreported.
The officials are also trying to come to a decision whether packaging should include cooking instructions to lessen confusion. The latest outbreak in Minnesota in March occurred despite that the products' labels had changed more than a year ago, stating that the chicken is uncooked.
David Goldman, assistant administrator for the USDA said they would have to deal with consumer behaviour if it's unchanged, as they have done everything they think is appropriate.
However, food safety experts said the latest outbreak indicates that the label changes were not enough and that the products should be precooked or irradiated by the manufacturer to ensure the elimination of salmonella.