A recent outbreak of Salmonella poisoning has prompted an important reminder about microwaving food. After 32 people in 12 states were sickened after eating chicken dishes, the government has announced that microwaving raw meat may not always be safe.
The Salmonella was traced to raw, frozen, breaded, and pre-browned chicken entrees. The products included "chicken cordon bleu," "chicken kiev," and chicken breast stuffed with cheese or vegetables. According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the chicken products were labeled as uncooked and did not say they could be cooked in a microwave. People who fell ill appear to have cooked the products in the microwave.
Microwaving raw meat is not recommended because microwaves heat unevenly and can leave cold spots in food where dangerous bacteria can grow. Even foods that are designed to be microwaved can be unsafe if they are not heated to a proper temperature. Raw meat should be cooked to 165 degrees F to kill the bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses.