ConAgra Foods has issued a warning to consumers not to eat its Banquet Turkey and Chicken Pot Pies after US health officials found a link to possible cases of salmonella.

ConAgra said it had reached the decision in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), adding that the company was looking into the concerns raised, which appear to centre on confusion over microwave cooking instructions.

The consumer notice relates to Banquet Turkey and Chicken Pot Pies or generic store brand not-ready-to-eat pot pie products bearing the code 'P-9' on the side of the package.

ConAgra said consumers may return these products to the company for a refund by sending in the side panel of the package bearing the P-9 product code. Alternatively, consumers can return the product to the store from which it was purchased for a refund.

The company reiterated that the products are not ready-to-eat, and must always be thoroughly cooked as detailed on the packages. The cooking instructions, it said, were specifically designed to eliminate the presence of common pathogens found in many uncooked products.

ConAgra added that microwave cooking times vary, depending on the wattage of the cooker, so carefully following all instructions was important.

The company said it was working with the USDA to identify any additional steps that may be appropriate, including potential changes to clarify cooking instructions for consumers. It said it was already revising its packaging to illustrate more clearly the different cooking times for Banquet pot pies related to varying wattages of microwaves.