Despite direct requests from Oregon and Minnesota health officials to recall all its pies because the source of salmonella has not been identified, the company refused a total recall, saying that contamination is only linked to its poultry pot pies.
Instead of abiding by health official requests, ConAgra halted production and simply advised consumers to thoroughly cook pies to kill any bacteria and reduce the risk of salmonella.
ConAgra must have come to its senses: the Omaha, NE, Company finally recalled all pot pie products Oct 11, but not before a salmonella outbreak allegedly affected 165 victims in 31 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
[Lawsuits] have subsequently been filed against ConAgra, saying the packaged foods company "betrayed the trust of consumers" by selling contaminated products.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWSWhat is especially despicable about the ConAgra's response to the outbreak is that it blamed the consumer! It said that "The company believes the issue is likely related to consumer undercooking of the product...the cooking instructions for these products are specifically designed to eliminate the presence of common pathogens found in many uncooked products."
How well do you know your microwave? Consumers are instructed to cook Banquet pot pies in a medium or high-wattage microwave for four minutes and six minutes if they have low-wattage microwaves. It also says that "ovens vary" so cooking time "may need to be adjusted." Maybe it should have just said, "Make sure your pot pie is burnt to a crisp before consuming," just to be on the safe side. After all, who knows if their microwave has enough watts to kill whatever pathogens are lurking in their pot pies?
On October 11, ConAgra acknowledged that the instructions were unclear and that the company was recalling the products and rewriting the instructions. About time—but too late for some.