Barbecued rare burgers are bad for you

Over five million consumers are “at risk of food poisoning” from eating rare burgers that are pink in the middle, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned. 

More than one-third of people in the UK (36%) would eat a burger that was in pink in the middle, despite 71% of Brits claiming they are worried about food poisoning, according to an FSA survey published on 25 August.

Health officials claimed burgers done on the barbecue must be cooked until steaming hot all the way through, with no traces of pink meat in the middle. Meat juices must also run clear.

This warning comes on the back of a survey of 2,708 people, which found that one in 10 people preferred their burger to be pink in the middle.

“It’s important that people realise that burgers are not like steak,” said Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA. Nearly a third of people think eating a rare burger poses the same level of food poisoning risk as a rare steak, but this is incorrect he warned.

“Harmful bacteria can be carried on the surface of cuts of meat. When a rare steak is seared these bacteria are killed, but burger meat is minced, so bacteria from the surface of the raw meat gets mixed all the way through the burger. These bacteria can remain alive on the inside, unless the burger is fully cooked through, no matter how good-quality and expensive the meat.”

The FSA has signed up former England rugby captain, and MasterChef winner, Phil Vickery to tackle the challenge of undercooked burgers on the barbecue. He will provide a no-nonsense approach to address the dangers of home-cooked rare burgers, with the FSA confident he won’t fumble the task of keeping consumers in the know.

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