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Safely preparing frozen foods
Donna Krug

The statistics are in that show 70 percent of U.S. households are now food preparation central for 80 percent of their families’ meals. This is up 40 percent from 2019 and likely not slowing down. COVID19 has certainly impacted “where” we are eating most of our meals. Whether you are a cook-from-scratch kind of person or rely on some pre-cooked products when putting a meal together keep reading for some sound advice.

When shopping the frozen food case, be aware that not all frozen foods are prepared the same. Don’t assume that all frozen foods are equal when it comes to preparing them for your families dinner. You may not realize that some frozen foods are not fully cooked or ready to eat, especially if they have browned breading, grill marks or other signs that normally show that a product has been cooked. 

In a recent Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) observational study, 22% of participants said a not-ready-to-eat frozen chicken entrée was either cooked, partially cooked, or they weren’t sure that the product was in fact raw. The best advice is to read the cooking or preparation instructions on the package. This is specific to that product. The instructions may only have one cooking method or possibly multiple methods. Choose the one that best fits your schedule.

This information is important for all frozen foods whether they are vegetables or meat products. If the package states “not ready to eat” that means some form of cooking, baking or roasting must take place. Always use a food thermometer to check final temperatures. 

Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or