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New Poll Reveals Knowledge Gap Among Public on Meat and Poultry Handling, Cooking and Safety

Friday, June 19, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

A new poll released by AMI reveals a significant knowledge gap among the public about meat and poultry handling, cooking and safety.

Only a third (34 percent) of Americans correctly answered that a hamburger is ready to eat when the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees F.  One in five said that checking the middle of the hamburger to ensure that it is brown is the best approach – a practice experts say is not an accurate indicator that a burger is thoroughly cooked.  Likewise, 18 percent wrongly said that checking to see if juices run clear ensures food safety. 

The poll, which surveyed 1,000 Americans in May, found that men were much more likely than women to know how to identify when a hamburger is thoroughly cooked.  While four in ten (41 percent) men knew that the internal temperature of a hamburger must reach 160 degrees F before it can be consumed, only 26 percent of women knew this fact.

 Overall, younger Americans were less knowledgeable about proper meat preparation than older generations, the survey found. Only 16 percent of 18-29 year olds knew to check the internal temperature of a burger.

Consumers also were uncertain about proper storage temperatures.  Only 36 percent of women were aware that refrigerators should be set at 40 degree F or below.  An additional one-third (33 percent) of women simply admitted that they don’t know the correct temperature for a refrigerator.

Among members of  Generation Y, only one-third (32 percent) of Americans age 18-29 knew that refrigerators should be set to 40 degrees F or below, compared to half (52 percent) of those age 30 and older.

The majority of respondents (62 percent) were also not aware that the elderly, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems need to reheat deli meat and hot dogs to steaming before eating them.

The American public was divided over whether they believed meat and poultry products have more or fewer bacteria on them today than they did 10 years ago, according to survey results. While 22 percent of Americans thought that there is more bacteria on meat/poultry today than in the past, 26 percent believed the opposite is true and that today’s meat/poultry has fewer bacteria. Two in ten (22 percent) thought the levels had not changed, and three in ten (29 percent) reported that they just don’t know the answer.

For more information, visit http://www.meatsafety.org/.  To view video available in broadcast quality, go to www.youtube.com/meatnewsnetwork.  



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