Residents are being urged to take special care if they are planning a barbecue this bank holiday weekend.
South Tyneside Council and the Food Standards Agency are issuing advice to make sure people have sizzling – but safe – barbecues.
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.
However, this could be dangerous as burgers are not like steak. Steak can 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. For that reason, a burger needs to be cooked all the way through.
People are being advised to cook burgers until they are steaming hot all the way through and the juices run clear. None of the meat should be pink.
Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “This advice could mean the difference between keeping your loved ones safe and them getting food poisoning.
“Failure to cook burgers thoroughly could even lead to your guests getting a life-threatening illness.
“Everyone wants their barbecue to be remembered for the right reasons so follow this advice and stay safe.”
To find out more about cooking burgers, visit www.food.gov.uk/burgers