The Cannelloni Complaints Dept.,
Marks & Spencer, plc,
13th August, 1990.
Now here's a thing; I wish to complain about the packaging of your St Michael Italian Range Fresh Pasta Cannelloni Fresh Egg Pasta With Traditional Beef & Tomato Fill In A Rich Creamy Sauce With Fresh Parmesan Cheese.
My mother bought me a "serves two" pack last week and, what with its getting near the Use By date, I thought I'd better heat it and it eat tonight. Now, my mother (whose eyesight is, admittedly, not as good as it used to be) had specifically chosen the cannelloni because it apparently did not require defrosting. I checked this before starting cooking, then popped the cannelloni in the oven. After the specified half hour, I was horrified to find that the food was still stone cold in the centre. Upon closer inspection of the packaging, I eventually discovered the message "Defrost Thoroughly Before Use" in extremely small letters on the bottom of the pack. As the packet advised against re-heating, I could hardly let the cannelloni defrost now, could I? I eventually decided that, what with the recent salmonella epidemics and what have you, I'd better bin the lot and go and spend a fiver down the chinkie. Quite an expensive mistake, I'm sure you'll agree.
It seems to me that such food which could be extremely dangerous if not properly cooked should have the words "DEFROST THOROUGHLY BEFORE USE" in large, red letters on the top of the package. Clearly, this would lose you some sales, but it could save lives and would cover you nicely against any law suits. I shudder to think what could have happened had my mother decided to cook the cannelloni for herself (she never eats foreign stuff, so she probably would have thought it was supposed to be cold in the middle).
While I'm at it, I notice that this "Italian Range" food is actually produced in the UK - not illegal, but rather misleading and un-British I would say. I would also query your use of the word "fresh" (three times!) when describing frozen food.