If you’re aiming to round off the summer holidays with a barbecue this Bank Holiday weekend, Mid Ulster District Council and Food Standards Agency (FSA) have some good advice to help make it a safe success.
With gourmet burgers in restaurants becoming increasingly popular some people may be tempted to serve their guests with burgers that are pink in the middle. But a burger is not like steak. Steak can be served rare because any contamination on the surface of the meat is destroyed when the steak is seared on the outside.
Burgers are made of minced meat, so any bacteria, on the outside of the whole piece of meat, are mixed up throughout burgers when the meat is minced. If bacteria are mixed into the middle of the burger and it isn’t cooked all the way through, the bacteria can survive and cause food poisoning. That’s why a burger should be thoroughly cooked all the way through.
So, this Barbecue Weekend (27-29 August), rain or shine, the FSA is reminding everybody to:
• cook burgers so they are steaming hot all the way through, no matter how good quality or expensive the meat
• check that none of it is pink and that any juices run clear, and
• avoid cross contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking, using different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food.
Chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Clement Cuthbertson said, ‘It’s the little things like following this advice that can keep your loved ones safe. Children, elderly and poorly people in your family could get food poisoning, or even worse – a life threatening illness through serving a less than well-cooked burger at your barbecue this weekend.”
If you want your barbecue to be remembered for the right reasons, follow the FSA’s advice on cooking burgers. Find out more about the FSA’s top tips at: www.food.gov.uk/burgers