WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Those of us that claim we can’t cook might feel confident about putting a frozen pizza in the oven and having it for dinner, but a new study from the United States Department of Agriculture found that many Americans do not actually know when frozen foods are completely cooked and ready to eat, which can put themselves at risk for foodborne illness.
Since the pandemic began experts say frozen food sales have increased however the USDA suggests many people aren’t quite sure when their frozen food is fully cooked.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
The USDA conducted a meal preparation experiment and the results showed nearly a quarter of the participants preparing frozen foods were not sure if the products were raw or fully cooked despite it being labeled on the package.
“There is a labeling requirement and it will tell you if it’s raw or if it’s fully cooked. Once you read the labels, you’ll know how to move forward and how to handle it. It is also important to verify if your food is ready with a food thermometer, and make sure you could get to the proper temperature” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, Under Secretary for Food Safety at the USDA.
Experts also suggest it’s important to stir, turn, or rotate the food half-way during the cooking process to get rid of any cold spots. When microwaving frozen convenience foods, carefully follow instructions to let the food stand or rest 2 minutes before eating.
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