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Half of Irish people will eat an undercooked burger - but it can cause food poisoning

51% of Irish adults have reported eating undercooked burgers when in restaurants.

Image: Maxim Blinkov via Shutterstock

HALF OF IRISH adults have reported eating undercooked burgers when in restaurants.

Safefood have launched a new ‘Burger Fever’ campaign to educate the public on the importance of only eating burgers that are fully cooked to prevent contracting serious food poisoning.

In a survey people told Safefood that they ate undercooked burgers due to taste and confidence in the food preparation.

However 65% of people said they would reconsider their choice if they knew there was risk of food poisoning.

Director of food science at Safefood Gary Kearney explained why it’s dangerous for the inside of a burger to be undercooked:

“Mince used in hamburgers is a higher risk as the food poisoning bacteria that live on the surface of the beef is then mixed through the middle of the burger when the beef is minced – so in effect, the outside is not the inside.

The only way to ensure that any bacteria in the middle of the burger is killed off is to ensure that the burger is cooked well done.

While most people who get sick from food poisoning will recover without any lasting effects, some E. Coli bacteria can carry risks of more serious long-term effects.

Some strains of E. Coli can cause anemia or kidney failure.

Professor of bacteriology at NUI Galway Dr Martin Cormican said that some types of E. Coli that are harmless to cows can be dangerous to people.

“The biggest worry is that a type of E. Coli  called VTEC,” he said.

“If there is VTEC in the middle of your burger, only proper cooking will kill it.

Eating burgers that are pink in the middle is a bit like driving without a seat belt – you might get away with it for years but if something goes wrong and you are harmed, will you still think it was worth is?

The trend of serving burgers cooked to preference or less than well done in restaurants across Ireland has raised concerns from the Food Safe Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and it  issued advice to caterers to only serve burgers fully cooked.

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