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Rare burgers risk communication messaging

Research to inform advisory messaging about the risks of eating beef burgers cooked rare or medium.

This research experimentally tested the impact of exposure to one of three advisory messages. The messages either: 

  • emphasised that you cannot ‘see, smell or taste’ the bacteria that can cause food poisoning
  • named E. coli and salmonella as potential bacteria that could be carried within medium or rare burgers
  • explained why the risk associated with minced beef is different compared with whole cuts of beef (because bacteria is mixed up inside the burger)

These messages were developed following insight from qualitative research conducted by the FSA in 2015.

All three advisory messages had measurable impact on respondents’ perceptions of risks and levels of concern, reducing their reported likelihood of ordering or eating a rare or medium burger.

Research report