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Watch: Don’t burger up your bank holiday: Over one million people in the North West risk food poisoning say FSA

Over one million* people in the North West of England are at risk of food poisoning from pink burgers at Bank Holiday barbecues, according to research released today by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The research reveals that despite 72% stating they are concerned about food poisoning, nearly a third (30%) of people in the North West would eat a burger that isn’t fully cooked through. Almost one in 10 (8%) said that they actually prefer burgers cooked this way, and 48% admit to undercooking them at home.

The FSA is encouraging all those who are getting their BBQs out this weekend to ensure they cook their burgers all the way through – until steaming hot throughout, with no pink meat in the middle and the juices run clear.

To help burger lovers enjoy their BBQs, the FSA has teamed up with British rugby legend and MasterChef winner Phil Vickery to raise awareness about best burger practice.

Kindred 35286 Food Standar Agency : Phil Vickery making burgers at home.

Kindred 35286 Food Standar Agency : Phil Vickery making burgers at home.

Phil can’t wait to man the grill this weekend. He says:

“With Bank Holiday weekend round the corner it’s important to make sure people understand that you shouldn’t cook burgers that are rare or medium at home. Some restaurants can serve them this way because they have strict controls in place, covering how burgers are prepared and cooked, but cooking burgers that are rare or pink at home could really ruin your weekend.”

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. Over a quarter (28%) of all people in the North West incorrectly believe that eating a rare burger is the same as a rare steak when it comes to food poisoning risk.

Even those who wouldn’t usually choose a rare burger could still get ill this weekend, with one in four (27%) admitting that they would eat one if it was given to them.

Phil adds:

“Personally, I like to properly cook my burger through for that delicious smoky flavour, then top with crisp Romaine Hearts lettuce, tomato and a generous helping of sliced English cheddar cheese – anyone who says they don’t like theirs well done clearly hasn’t tried mine!”

Kindred 35286 Food Standar Agency : Phil Vickery making burgers at home.

Kindred 35286 Food Standar Agency : Phil Vickery making burgers at home.

For more information on food safety and advice about cooking burgers at home, click here

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Editor at large, SalfordOnline.com