Can Babies Eat Burned or Burnt Food? Is It Safe? 

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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We all have experienced cooking or grilling a type of food, such as meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables, that ends up a bit overcooked or even burnt or burned. You are likely wondering if this food is still safe to feed to your baby. 

There are mixed results regarding whether burned meats or carbohydrate-rich foods are associated with disease states, including an increased cancer risk. Therefore, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding your baby burnt foods. 

In this article, we’ll discuss more information about the safety of feeding burned food to your baby. 

Can Babies Eat Burnt Food?

When it comes to burnt food, there are mixed conclusions from scientists regarding the research on this subject. However, it is best to be on the side of caution. Therefore, avoid giving your baby any burned food and remove any burned areas of food. 

Carbohydrates that are cooked at very high temperatures have been found to contain a compound called acrylamide in food.

Commonly burned carbohydrates include bread products, like toast or dinner rolls, or desserts and pastries, like the edges of pie crust or cakes.

grilled meat

However, scientists have not found that acrylamide is definitely a carcinogen (or definitively safe) when it is consumed at the allowable levels that are present in cooked foods (source: University of Birmingham). 

What about burned or chargrilled proteins, such as barbecued poultry, fish, or meat?

Even more, uncertainty comes from burned foods in which there are mixed results about whether burned meats are associated with certain types of cancer in humans (source: University of Birmingham).

Therefore, to be on the safe side, it is best to avoid serving burned foods to your baby. In other words, try to cook foods until they are golden and yellow instead of burnt black or brown.

burned bread

However, there is also the concern of undercooking meats, poultry, seafood, fish, and eggs when trying to avoid burning them.

Use a metal stem-type thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food to make sure it is adequately cooked to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

For instance, poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and seafood at 145 degrees Fahrenheit (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]). 

What to Do with Burned Food Before Serving to a Baby

While unlikely to cause any harm to your baby, it is best to remove the very burnt parts of your food. It is not necessary to completely discard the burnt food, but take the time to remove or scrape off the burnt parts and try to avoid burning the food in the future.

Keep in mind that certain cooking methods, especially those that involve an open flame, such as grilling or barbecuing, are most likely to cause food to burn. However, steaming or boiling is very unlikely to cause burning.

Make sure the food, regardless of the cooking method, is prepared appropriately for your baby’s age. For instance, once your baby can have finger foods, make sure the foods are cut into bite-sized pieces and are soft and easy to chew. 

I hope this article helped provide guidance for serving burnt or burned food to your baby.