Only 19 percent of Americans who cook burger meats use a thermometer to ensure they are safely cooked, according to a new poll commissioned by the American Meat Institute (AMI).
The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that about three-quarters (73%) of adults who cook burger meats rely on sight to tell if they are done, and 57% rely on cooking time. Nearly nine in 10 US adults cook hamburgers or poultry burgers, the poll found.
AMI senior vice president of public affairs Janet Riley said: "Our poll reveals that a significant knowledge gap still exists about proper cooking temperatures and thermometer use. U.S. meat and poultry products are among the safest in the world, but like all raw agricultural products, they can contain bacteria, and that is why it is important to take time to remind consumers about safe handling and cooking practices."
The AMI flagged up younger adults aged 18-34 as a demographic of particular concern, with only 13 percent using an instant read thermometer to determine doneness. Many people in this group cook for young children, the AMI pointed out.
In addition, the survey found that only one in five adults knew that a hamburger should be cooked to at least 160°F, to ensure it is safe to eat.
"Meat and poultry companies use many food safety strategies to make our products as safe as we can, and it is our responsibility to empower our customers with the information that they need to ensure that the products are safe when served," said Riley.