LONDON – According to research released a few days ago by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), almost two million people in London are at risk of food poisoning from pink burgers at Bank Holiday Barbecues. The FSA is encouraging all those who are getting their BBQs this weekend to fully cook their burgers: this warning has been made because the research has shown that despite 71% stating they are concerned about food poisoning, nearly half of them would still eat a burger that is not fully cooked; moreover, 54% of them admitted that they even undercook burgers at home.
In order to help BBQs lovers enjoy their burgers safely, the FSA has teamed up with Phil Vickery, British rugby legend and Masterchef winner, who will give his contribution in raising awareness about best burger practice. He stressed that it is very important that people don’t try to 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.” In addition to these useful piece of advice, he shared his personal favourite way of cooking burgers: he likes his burger properly cooked through with a top of Romaine Hearts lettuce, tomato and English cheddar cheese.
What makes Steve Wearne, the Director of Policy at the FSA, worried is the general ignorance about the presence of bacteria in burgers. He said: “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.” Moreover, many people – over a third of all people in London – incorrectly believe that eating a rare burger is the same as a rare steak when it comes to food poisoning risk and even those who wouldn’t usually choose a rare burger could get ill this weekend, since they said they would eat one if it was given to them.
What both Wearne and Vickery advise is for everyone to be cautious: cook your burgers through and fully enjoy your weekend, without having to worry about the consequences of an unhealthy BBQ next week.