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Poll: Many U.S. Adults Unaware Of Key Food Safety Practices

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CBS Detroit (con't)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Summer may be waning, but with Labor Day cookouts, NCAA college football tailgates and the NFL season right around the corner, September’s 17th annual National Food Safety Education Month is the perfect time to remind food preparers about proper procedures when cooking meat and poultry products.

A new poll commissioned by the American Meat Institute and conducted by Harris Interactive found that while almost nine out of 10 U.S. adults (88 percent) cook hamburgers or poultry burgers, only 19 percent of those who do use an instant read thermometer to determine that the burgers are safely cooked and ready to eat.

Approximately 73 percent of adults who cook hamburgers or poultry burgers incorrectly rely on sight to determine doneness and 57 percent incorrectly rely on cooking time.

Only 13 percent of adults aged 18-34 who cook hamburgers or poultry burgers, many of whom may prepare food for small children at home, use an instant read thermometer to determine doneness when cooking hamburgers or poultry burgers. Seventy-eight percent of this age group rely on sight, which is not an accurate indicator of doneness, to determine if the burger is cooked properly.

In terms of proper cooking temperatures, only one in five U.S. adults (20 percent) knows a hamburger should be cooked to 160 degree F to ensure it is safe to consume, while 41 percent mistakenly believe that hamburgers should be cooked to a temperature less than 160 degrees F, according to the poll.

Nearly half of U.S. adults (47 percent) believe that poultry burgers should be cooked to a temperature less than 165 degrees F. Only 13 percent know that a poultry burger should be cooked to 165 degree F to ensure it is safe to consume.

To help, here are four basic food safety steps that are included on safe handling labels on meat and poultry products: clean, separate, cook and chill.

Consumers should make sure that surfaces and hands are clean when preparing food, separate raw products from cooked products, cook the product to the proper temperature and keep the product properly chilled.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of American Meat Institute from August 16 – 18, 2011 among 2112 adults ages 18 and older, of whom, 1,886 cook hamburgers and/or poultry burgers.

For more information and additional resources to safely prepare meat and poultry visit www.meatsafety.org.

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