New research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that consumers may not know how to safely cook frozen foods, which can put families at risk of getting foodborne illness in their homes. Consumers may not know 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 USDA study, 22 percent 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.

Frozen foods are convenient for busy families, because of how quickly they can be prepared. Frozen food products are also a great option because children can easily prepare frozen meals on their own. It is especially important for children to know how to practice the necessary food safety steps needed to prepare frozen meals to avoid foodborne illness, and to help them do so, parents must first understand if products are raw or ready-to-eat. Cooks are reminded to wash your hands before food preparation and after handling raw frozen products, and use a food thermometer to make sure your frozen meals reach a safe internal temperature