Beware your bank holiday burger doesn’t do you more harm than good

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From left, Terence Rierkert, Matt Chapman, Steve Kramer, Dan Deeks, Theresa Newstead, Simon Freeman and Josh Roux
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  • Food Standards Agency says 5,000,000 at risk from undercooked meat
  • England rugby star Phil Vickery helps spread danger message
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THEY’RE a favourite bank holiday feast - but there could be hidden dangers lurking in your barbecued burgers.

The Food Standards Agency says more than five million Brits are at risk of food poisoning from pink burgers at bank holiday barbecues

The warning follows research results released by the agency today, National Burger Day.

Its survey shows that despite 71 per cent of people stating that they are concerned about food poisoning, over a third (36 per cent) of Brits would eat a burger that isn’t fully cooked through.

More than one in 10 said that they actually prefer burgers cooked this way. When cooking them at home 81% of those admit to undercooking them. So we at the FSA are encouraging all those who are getting their barbecues out this weekend to ensure they cook their burgers all the way through – until steaming hot throughout, there’s no pink meat in the middle and the juices run clear.

Even those who wouldn’t usually choose a rare burger could still get ill this weekend, with one in four admitting that they would eat one if it was given to them – don’t let your guests be put in that predicament.

Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the FSA, said: ‘It’s important that people realise that burgers are not like steak. 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.’

While most people know that undercooked chicken and pork can cause illness, many wrongly believe that all red meats are safe. Nearly a third (32 per cent) of all Britons incorrectly believe that eating a rare burger is the same as a rare steak when it comes to food poisoning risk.

To help burger loving Brits enjoy our BBQs, the agency has teamed up with British rugby legend and MasterChef winner Phil Vickery to raise awareness about best burger practice.

For more information on food safety and advice about cooking burgers at home, visit food.gov.uk/burgers

Bacteria can remain alive on the inside, unless the burger is fully cooked through

* 86 per cent of those surveyed reported that they eat burgers (55,556,000 based on a total UK population of 64,600,000 according to the Office for National Statistics). 12 per cent of these stated that they prefer eat them rare (6,666,720), with 81 per cent making rare burgers at home (5,400,043).