Security tags on meat

A few weeks ago I bought some rump steak from my local Woolworths store in a plastic tray and froze it. When I came to use it I put it in the microwave to defost and a few minutes later it had caught on fire inside the microwave. I contacted Woolworths and they said it was because of the security label that they put on to stop people from stealing the products. I was very lucky I was close by and quickly asked my husband to take it outside, My microwave couldn’t be used again and Woolworths are going to replace it and also the meat. I was quite shocked and realised that I should have probably taken the meat out of the packaging to defrost it. The situation could have been a lot worse and I was wondering if you have come across this before? Also another thing that concerned me was the fact that my smoke alarm didn’t go off, because we had some doors closed into the hallway (where the smoke alarm is) because we had the air conditioner on. A very valuable lesson learnt.


Was there any visible indication of this special label, or a warning that the packet contained metal and should not be microwaved?


I haven’t ever seen a security label on the prepackaged meat. I wonder if it is a specific label based on the stores location.


Coles have been attaching security labels to their premium cuts (eye fillet, rib fillet, porterhouse, rib on bone, etc) of prepacked meats for the last few years.

The labels are clearly marked as such and quite visible on the top of the packs.

As I said to a Coles butcher, it is a sad reflection on society when such drastic actions have become necessary to try to deter thieving.

As far as defrosting meat goes, we now place the meat in the sink in cold water and/or place it in our convection microwave at 40 degrees Celsius to thaw it out.

We find that it thaws evenly without ant loss of quality whereas our experiences with defrosting in a microwave results in uneven thawing whereby some parts of the meat have started to cook and toughen.


Some meat packages contain an absorbant pad (to remove excess fluids). These have a synthetic/plastic cover and has a synthetic (?) inner wadding. I am not sure if I would heat/defrost in a microwave with this pad as it is likely to get very hot releasing its contents or affecting flavour of the meat.

I always wonder why they are included as it is possibly only there for cosmetic reasons…excess fluid when looking at contents.

The other thing is many meat packages are modified atmosphere in sealed container…hearing could build up pressure in the packaging making them explode, if the seal is not broken (make a hole) before heating.


Why on earth has this post been flagged?

no there wasn’t any warnings

1 Like

Domestic microwave ovens operate at 2.45 GHz as do some passive RFID tags.

The passive tags operate by creating a magnetic field when in close proximity to a RFID Reader so a 2.45 GHz band tag would draw power from the microwave oven.

Even if the tag was not in the 2.45 GHz band, the antenna would still be likely to cause arcing and possibly damage the oven’s magnetron.

I once accidently placed an item in the microwave with a plastic-coated tie wrap attached to it and it immediately started to arc.


Thanks for that.
I am going to remove the meat from all of it’s packaging in future


Someone brought this issue to our attention on Facebook, including a picture - I’m posting it here so you know what to look out for.


Thanks for that
I didn’t notice the tag like that but maybe it was underneath or to the side of the meat package


Have never seen the stickers/labels before at our local supermarkets…but will keep an eye out now just in case they are adooted locally. I now know what to look for.