Oct. 6, 2008 -- Do you have frozen, uncooked stuffed chicken entrees such as chicken cordon bleu or chicken Kiev in your freezer? Make sure you follow the cooking directions on the product's label so you don't get sick.
That advice comes from a public health alert issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after 32 people in 12 states got food poisoning after eating breaded and prebrowned, stuffed chicken entrees that were sold raw and frozen and weren't properly cooked at home.
Those people got sick from salmonella, which are bacteria that can cause diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramps, and fever. Most people recover from salmonella infection without treatment, but life-threatening complications can occur; infants, elders, and people with weak immune systems are especially vulnerable.
The USDA's public health alert applies to all raw, frozen, breaded and prebrowned, stuffed chicken entrees. But no such products are being recalled; the USDA's message is a reminder to follow the products' cooking directions and to remember that those products are sold raw even though the breading and prebrowning may make them look cooked.
"Although many of these stuffed chicken entrees were labeled with instructions identifying the product was uncooked and did not include microwave instruction for preparation, individuals who became ill did not follow the cooking instructions and reportedly used a microwave to prepare the product," the USDA says in a news release.