The Zoomer Report: Microwaving Frozen Food

Do you zap frozen meals in the microwave when you’re in a hurry? It may be fast and easy, but it also can make you sick if it’s not done properly.

There was a spate of illnesses in the U.S. last year from improperly microwaved frozen foods. Recently, the U.S. government issued a new warning urging consumers to thoroughly cook frozen chicken dinners after 32 people in 12 states were sickened with salmonella poisoning.

The problem is that microwaves heat unevenly, and can leave cold spots in the food that harbour dangerous bacteria, such as E. coli, salmonella or listeria. Microwaving anything that includes raw meat, whether it’s frozen or thawed, can cause problems.

According to a a University of Tennessee food microbiologist, it’s not a good idea to microwave anything from a raw state. Many people wrongly assume all frozen meals are precooked and only need to be warmed. That’s partly because many prepared meals such as chicken that has been breaded or pre-browned appear cooked when they aren’t.

Some food companies have revamped the cooking instructions but experts say consumers must change their microwave habits, too. Consumers should also learn the wattage of their microwaves because certain foods require microwaves that have higher power levels. They also recommend that people use a thermometer to check food in several places when using the microwave.

About The Zoomer Report

Libby ZnaimerLibby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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