DENVER – Parents can benefit from continuing education about cooking ground beef safely – and passing along food preparation skills to their children, according to results from a national survey funded by the Beef Checkoff released Sept. 9.

The survey indicates most consumers were "home-schooled" on hamburger preparation, with 57% of consumers saying a parent taught them how to cook burgers. Another 29% said their hamburger-making skills were self-taught. However, only 13% of consumers in this latest survey correctly identified 160° F as the proper cooking temperature for ground beef to ensure safety, and only 9% said they learned to use a meat thermometer to determine when a hamburger is done.

"In the beef industry, we know ‘the way it has always been done’ is not good enough when it comes to food safety," said Mandy Carr, Ph.D., executive director of beef safety research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. "That’s why we invest in a wide range of initiatives to ensure we continue to produce the safest food possible. Consumers can be part of the food safety innovation process by following proper in-home food safety practices, including cooking ground beef to 160° F."

Retail establishments are also publicizing the best in-home, food-safety practices, the survey also showed. Half of survey respondents mentioned seeing information in a supermarket about proper handling and cooking of fresh meat. The top two tips or techniques consumers said they saw in supermarkets were related to hand washing and cooking meats to recommended temperatures using a meat thermometer.

The survey was conducted from July 30-Aug. 4. The national survey of 1,007 American adults including 971 beef eaters had a margin of error of +/-3.2%.