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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

You have to love the internet

Emails and phone calls are coming in about Salmonella Pot Pies.  Most people simply want to know what they should do – ConAgra says cook it or return it to the store, USDA says do not eat it, but keep it and Health Departments say to throw it away – what is a consumer to do?  Here is an email that I thought I would share to give a little insight into ConAgra’s operation:

I am a food safety microbiologist with more than 35 years of
experience. I follow your food poisoning blog closely, and am usually
in agreement with your philosophy. I also respect your attention to
accuracy in your scientific comments – something sorely lacking in
many places on the Internet.

I have been following the ConAgra/Banquet situation, and was
nonplussed at the Company’s comment that any problems were due to its
customers undercooking the pot pies. This did not make any sense to
me, so I did a bit of digging on-line and came up with the following
1994 article from Prepared Foods magazine. Please note, especially,
the final paragraphs on the first page of this link.

See Article at Find Articles

Unless the Company has drastically changed its production procedure
since 1994, the pot pie fillings are PRECOOKED. Only the crust is
raw. In 1994, ConAgra was cooking the fillings to 205ºF (96ºC) and
then cooling to 60-70ºF (15.5º-21ºC) before filling the pie shells.
The Company’s claim that the filling must be cooked by the customer
in order to be consumed safely is nonsense.

I thought that I would forward this article to you in the hope that
you would find it useful.

Keep up the good work.

Come on ConAgra, recall this product before someone really gets hurt.