Home cooks are putting millions of Britons at risk because they believe burgers can be left pink in the middle, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned.
Almost a third of Britons incorrectly believe that eating a rare burger is the same as a rare steak when it comes to food poisoning risk.
Despite almost three quarters of people worrying about food poisoning, 36 per cent admit they would eat a burger that is not fully cooked through and more than one in 10 said they actually preferred them this way, a survey for the FSA found.
It is warning that "burgers are not like steak" and urged those set to enjoy a barbecue to ensure the meat is steaming hot throughout with no pink in the middle and the juices running clear.
Harmful bacteria such as E.Coli can be carried on the surface of cuts of meat, but can be mixed all the way though a burger as the meat is minced.
FSA director of policy Steve Wearne 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."
Tips | How to safely barbecue meat
Make sure the coals are glowing red and have a grey surface before you start cooking
Frozen meat must be properly thawed before you cook it
While cooking, turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue
To serve, make sure the meat is piping hot even in the middle. There must be no pink meat visible
Source: The Telegraph