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But spotting raw ingredient isn't always easy because the only clue most companies offer is the two words "COOK THOROUGHLY" on the front of the package.
Consumers also need to become better acquainted with the technical specifications of their microwaves. The unit's wattage -- how powerful it is -- influences how well it heats food, and cooking instructions are written for specific wattages.
But microwaves lose power over time, and some smaller microwaves may not produce enough power to safely cook some products. Banquet pot pies, for example, now include a warning that the product shouldn't be cooked in microwaves with less than 1,100 watts output.
Kathy Barges, another Hy-Vee shopper, says she tries to follow the directions on her Lean Cuisine meals exactly, but hadn't noticed the package's warning to adjust cooking time if she doesn't have an 1,100-watt microwave.
"I'm not sure what mine is," Barges said. "It's an expensive microwave, so I assume it's got the most wattage on it."
And if most people don't know the wattage of their home microwaves, forget the ones they might use to nuke their lunch at work. "Who's got a thermometer in their desk drawer?" Davidson said.
College student Jordan Sullivan said he regularly eats frozen pizza and pizza rolls, but never has given much thought to the safety of it.
"I just toss them in and wait till they look good," Sullivan said of the rolls, which do include raw ingredients.
While following directions helps, experts say the bottom line is that cooking raw food is still a job best left to stovetops, grills and ovens.
On the Net:
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service:
Grocery Manufacturers Association:
American Frozen Food Institute: http://www.affi.com
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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