Beware the "Medium" burger on the barbecue

Minced or chopped up meats should not be cooked to preference says safefood

29 May, 2006. safefood is urging consumers to be extra vigilant when cooking meats that have been minced, skewered or rolled such as burgers, sausages and kebabs. These types of meats should be thoroughly cooked and never served rare or pink in the middle.

With whole cuts of meat e.g. steak, any harmful bacteria will live on the outside only, but when meat is minced or chopped up, the bacteria is moved around. These meats must be cooked thoroughly until piping hot all the way through to avoid food poisoning.

While many people believe that foodborne infections are acquired in food outlets such as restaurants, the World Health Organisation has reported at least 40% of foodborne illness occurs in the home. A further report has found that 50% of burgers cooked in the home were not properly cooked. The same study revealed that harmful bacteria were found in 40% of foods cooked at barbecues.

Speaking earlier today, Dr. Thomas Quigley, Director of Food Science, safefood said, “Thorough cooking of these meats is the best way for consumers to minimise the risks of food poisoning.

Our advice is that when checking that a burger or sausage is cooked, cut into the middle with a clean knife and check that it is piping hot in the middle. Meats change colour when cooked. Looking at colour is especially useful for checking meat, so also check that there is no pink meat left in the middle.”

Further food safety advice for consumers is available by calling the safefood helpline 1850 40 4567/ 0800 085 1683 or visiting the safefood website at


For further information please contact

Fiona Gilligan


Tel: (01) 448 0060


Andrew Hyland or Niamh Burdett 


Tel: 01 6690030 086 608 6764 (Niamh)