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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

ConAgra’s Marie Callender’s Cheesy Chicken & Rice Frozen Dinner Toll now 37

According to the CDC, a total of 37 individuals infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Chester have been reported from 18 states since April 11, 2010. The number of ill people identified in each state with this strain is as follows: AK (1), CA (5), CO (2), GA (7), IL (1), KY (1), MA (2), MN (2), MO (1), NC (1), OK (1), OR (2), SC (2), TN (1), TX (1), UT (2), VA (4), and WA (1). Among those for whom information is available about when symptoms started, illnesses began between April 5, 2010 and June 3, 2010. Case-patients range in age from <1 to 88 years old, and the median age is 36 years. Fifty-five percent of patients are female. Among the 19 patients with available hospitalization information, 7 (37%) were hospitalized.

As Teresa Paulsen, a spokeswoman for ConAgra, said a few days ago:

Some of the ingredients, in particular the protein such as the chicken, are precooked before packaging. She said the package has explicit instructions on how to cook the entree in a microwave or oven.  "If it’s cooked according to package instructions, any pathogen would be killed," she said.

Perhaps a warning on the box like this is in order?

Think about it.  Marie makes hundreds of thousands of these products and only a few people get ill.  So, either these 37 people just happen to not cook the product properly on this one occasion, or, what is far more likely, they were cooking it the same way they do every time, but this time the product had Salmonella in it.  Right, if ConAgra, a multi-billion dollar corporation, cannot get Salmonella out of its products, it thinks it is the consumer’s job?  Give me a break.

  • Dot

    Bill, your warning on this product, while humorous to me, is actually a great idea. This is crap-food to begin with and I hate it that humans are reduced to eating it.