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Enjoy beautifully barbequed burgers, not bacteria

A barbecued burger doesn't have to be bad to ruin your bank holiday weekend. Pink in the middle means it's undercooked and could make you really ill.

That's the warning from Boston Borough Council's environmental health department and the Food Standards Agency in the run-up to the barbecue weekend of the year.

With gourmet burgers served "rare"  in restaurants becoming increasingly popular some people may be tempted to serve their guests 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, is mixed up throughout burgers when the meat is minced. The same can be said of sausages and kebabs and any meat products which are minced or diced. If bacteria are mixed into the middle 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. When you think the burgers are ready just put a knife part way through and open it up to be sure - if it's still pink, time to rethink.

You can't see, smell or taste bacteria, but they could be there, no matter how high quality the meat.

Boston Borough Council food safety officer Ann Alexander 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."

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