DEAR ABBY: My husband purchased a bag of individually wrapped frozen chicken breasts during his lunch break. After work, we took our kids to a concert and didn't return home until 8 p.m. The bag of chicken was in his trunk for seven hours on a hot summer day.
My husband thought it was OK to refreeze the meat and feed this to our kids, ages 6 and 2. I adamantly disagreed. What are your thoughts? We've had this argument before. -- NO WAY! IN SAN JOSE
DEAR NO WAY!: Your husband is seriously off base. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "cold food" -- such as chicken, fish, raw meat -- should be purchased just before leaving the market and the shopper should plan to drive directly home. Always refrigerate perishable food within two hours, and when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be refrigerated within one hour! Food left in the car for the length of time your husband did is no longer fit for human consumption and could have made your children seriously ill.
Readers, for the answers to food safety questions, the USDA can be contacted on the Internet at AskKaren.gov. Submit a question there and it will be answered. The USDA also has a Meat and Poultry Hotline, (888) 674-6854, which is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.