With summer officially underway, many of us will be heading out on family trips and feasting on a burger and chips at the end of a long day.
But would that burger seem quite so appetising if you knew that it wasn’t fully cooked?
According to a survey conducted by Safefood, over half of Irish adults (51 percent) have eaten a burger that was undercooked in a restaurant.
Those who had consumed an undercooked burger said they had done so for a variety of reasons such as taste and confidence in safe food preparation.
However, harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli can be present in undercooked meat and can cause serious illness.
This is especially important when it comes to eating hamburgers, according to Dr Gary Kearney from Safefood.
He explained that the mince used in hamburgers is a higher risk of causing food poisoning as when the beef is minced, bacteria on the outside of the burger is mixed into the middle of the burger.
65 percent of those surveyed said they would reconsider their choice to eat an undercooked burger if they knew they were at risk of food poisoning, according to The Irish Examiner.
Safefood is urging the public to always ask for burgers to be well cooked as consuming partially cooked meat could result in food poisoning.
Unlike a steak, where harmful bacteria only live on the surface and can be killed through moderate cooking, burgers need to be cooked right through to the middle.
Dr Kearney added: "The only way to ensure that any bacteria in the middle of the burger is killed off is to ensure that the burger is cooked well done."
Safefood and regulatory authorities such as the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the HSE’s Environmental Health Service are concerned that there is a growing trend of cooking burgers to preference or less than well done in restaurants.
The FSAI has since issued new advice to caterers to only serve burgers that are safe to eat by cooking the meat all the way through.
While most people will recover from food poisoning without any long-term effects, certain strains of E. coli can cause long-term damage to the blood and kidneys, according to Safefood.
Young children, pregnant women, older people and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk but anyone can be susceptible to food poisoning.
So, if you are ordering a burger this summer, check that it has been cooked properly.
After all, a bout of food poisoning is unpleasant at the best and dangerous at worst. By asking for a well-done burger, you are keeping both yourself and your family safe.