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Consultation

Less than thoroughly cooked beef burgers: guidance for food business operators and local authority officers

We welcome stakeholder views on the proposed changes to our guidance on less than thoroughly cooked beef burgers.

Last updated: 9 May 2022

Who will this consultation be of most interest to?

This consultation will be of interest to: 

  • food businesses
  • local authority (LA) food safety teams
  • food safety consultants
  • trade bodies

Consultation subject 

The subject of this consultation is revised guidance on less than thoroughly cooked beef burgers which assists businesses that serve such burgers and LAs which carry out food official controls in such businesses. The guidance includes advice on controls and safe systems which can reduce the risks associated with less than thoroughly cooked beef burgers. 

Purpose of the consultation 

The  purpose of the consultation is to seek comments from stakeholders on the revised guidance.

We are also asking stakeholders for their views on whether the term ‘less than thoroughly cooked’ should be retained or replaced. There have been no changes to the policy, science or law on less than thoroughly cooked beef burgers. 

In particular we would welcome stakeholder views on the following:

  1. Is the guidance clear and easy to follow? If not, what additional information is required?
  2. Does the guidance contain sufficient information to aid compliance with the law? If not, what additional information is required?
  3. Is our assessment of the impact of the updates sufficient?
  4. Do you favour retaining the term ‘less than thoroughly cooked’ and the acronym LTTC or would you prefer that we used a different term such as ‘pink’ or ‘rare’ or lightly cooked, or something else?

Read the revised guidance

How to respond  

Responses to this consultation should be sent to burgerenquiries@food.gov.uk  by close 27 April 2022

Please state, in your response, whether you are responding as a private individual or on behalf of an organisation or company, including details of any stakeholders your organisation represents.

Details of consultation

The main changes to the guidance are: 

  • making the definitions, language and layout clearer and easier to understand 
  • providing further information on how compliance may be achieved, as well as highlighting best practice 
  • providing advice on buying minced beef or beef burgers from establishments specifically approved for producing products intended to be less than thoroughly cooked
  • introducing an infographic to help identify the controls needed  
  • providing further details on how consumer messaging should be provided to ensure it is sufficiently accessible 
  • providing an extended glossary to explain technical terms 
  • changing format of the guidance from a PDF document to webpages to improve its accessibility

It has been suggested by stakeholders that the term ‘less than thoroughly cooked’ is replaced by a simpler term. Alternatives could be ‘rare’ or ‘pink’ or ‘lightly cooked’. We would welcome your views and suggestions on this.

The changes to this guidance have been developed with input from stakeholders including businesses and local authority representatives. We have determined that a 12-week consultation period is proportionate to seek wider stakeholder views. We aim to publish a summary of responses within three months of the consultation ending. 

Impacts

The changes to the guidance have been designed to make it clearer and easier to understand. This will benefit businesses and LA officers. There will be a familiarisation cost to the business community as a whole, which we have calculated as being under £32,000. We have based this calculation on the government assessment methodology by estimating the number of food businesses serving LTTC beef burgers and the time taken for managers to read the guidance at each business. We have determined that businesses would not need to routinely re-familiarise themselves with the guidance, as any steps taken as a result of reading the guidance would be integrated into their food safety management systems. We have assumed that the dissemination process of informing staff will be incorporated into business-as-usual meetings. We would welcome stakeholder views on our assessment of the impact of the guidance.

Publication of response summary

Within three months of a consultation ending we aim to publish a summary of responses received and provide a link to it from this page.

You can find information on how we handle data provided in response to consultations in our Consultations privacy notice.

Further information

This consultation has been prepared in accordance with HM Government Consultation Principles. If an Impact Assessment has been produced, this is included in the consultation documents. If no Impact Assessment has been provided, the reason will be given in the consultation document.