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Eating A Burger That's Pink In The Middle Could Lead To Food Poisoning

It's not like eating a rare steak.

08/24/2017 11:08 EDT | Updated 08/24/2017 11:08 EDT

Many people love eating rare meat, but when it comes to burgers, it's usually better to go for well-done.

The Independent reports that eating a burger that's pink in the middle "could lead to food poisoning or even be fatal."

"The reason for this is that bacteria (salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter, for example) live on the outside of meats — when you sear a steak, this kills the bacteria. But as the meat is minced up in a burger, those bacteria could still be living on the inside."

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However, according to Falko Molitor, general manager of steakhouse Smith & Wollensky, you can eat rare burgers, it's just really risky to do so.

"If harmful bacteria is present in the middle of the burger which hasn't been cooked, it may survive and make you ill," he told The Independent.

If harmful bacteria is present in the middle of the burger which hasn't been cooked it may survive and make you ill.

In order to kill all that bacteria, it's recommended that ground beef be cooked at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

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The Independent notes that it's usually OK to ask for a rare burger when eating out, as most restaurants have strict guidelines when it comes to preparing meat to avoid contamination.

However, in 2015, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) reiterated their long-standing advice that preparing and serving rare burgers in "food outlets" was "unacceptable unless a validated and verified food safety management plan is in place."

The FSA also advises people that they should cook burgers all the way through to kill any bugs that may be present.

The FSA also advises people that they should cook burgers all the way through to kill any bugs that may be present.

In Canada though, it's rare (heh) to find pink burgers on menus.

"Canadians will pair their martinis with a plate of raw oysters, load up their plates with cheap sushi and tuck into a steak served Chicago rare — but the pink, medium-rare hamburger remains strictly taboo," reported the National Post in 2012.

Anna Marie D'Angelo, spokeswoman for Vancouver Coastal Health, told the Post that if diners see pink in their burgers, they should "ask it to be recooked for their own safety."

So when it comes to dining out, if you do see the option for going pink, do so with caution. And if you're at home, it's best to play it safe and cook that burger until the juices run clean.

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