Views wanted on rare burgers advice

Last updated:
10 March 2016
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The Food Standards Agency is consulting on advice for food businesses and local authority enforcement officers on the safe preparation and service of burgers that are served pink or less than thoroughly cooked.

The growing popularity of burgers served pink has led the FSA to develop the advice. It is aimed at helping businesses meet consumer demand for rare burgers while keeping customers protected. Burgers that aren’t thoroughly cooked can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning if the right controls aren’t in place.

In September 2015, the FSA Board agreed a number of controls that food businesses serving burgers pink will need to have in place to demonstrate that they are maintaining customer safety.  The new advice sets the options out and they include:

  • Sourcing the meat only from establishments which have specific controls in place to minimise the risk of contamination of meat intended to be eaten raw or lightly cooked.
  • Ensuring that the supplier carries out appropriate testing of raw meat to check that their procedures for minimising contamination are working.
  • Strict temperature control to prevent growth of any bugs and appropriate preparation and cooking procedures.
  • Notifying their local authority that burgers that aren’t thoroughly cooked are being served by the business.
  • Providing advice to consumers, for example on menus, regarding the additional risk.

The draft advice is for caterers and local authorities only and the FSA’s long-standing advice to consumers is unchanged: burgers prepared at home should be cooked thoroughly until they are steaming hot throughout, the juices run clear and there is no pink meat left inside. If using a temperature probe or cooking thermometer, make sure the middle of the burgers reaches a temperature of 70⁰C for 2 minutes or one of the following equivalent time and temperature combinations:

Time and temperature combinations
Temperature Time
60ºC 45 minutes
65ºC 10 minutes
70ºC 2 minutes
75ºC 30 seconds
80ºC 6 seconds

 

The FSA is not changing its advice to consumers as people preparing burgers at home are not in a position to carry out the same strict procedures that are expected of food businesses.

The consultation on the new advice runs until Thursday 31 March 2016.

 

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