LONDON – Preparation and service of rare burgers is unacceptable unless food outlets have a valid and verified food safety management plan in place, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) board said. The board had been asked to consider new controls on foodservice operators that serve rare burgers.
The FSA has long advised consumers against consuming undercooked burgers and to thoroughly cook ground beef to kill any foodborne pathogens that may be present. However, the board recently agreed to support a range of controls that include sourcing meat from establishments with food safety controls in place to minimize the risk of contamination and providing a caution on menus to inform consumers about the risk of consuming undercooked burgers.
The board also agreed to the following requirements:
• Businesses wanting to serve burgers rare pre-notify their local authority.
• The FSA board is given reassurances on the controls that suppliers of mince intended for consumption rare or lightly cooked in burgers have in place.
• Effective consumer advisory statements will be required on menus where rare burgers are served.
• The board agreed the FSA should take a lead ensuring these statements are consistent an FSA communications plan is implemented to explain the risks and controls to the public.
• Infection rates continue to be kept under close review and any changes brought to the attention of the board.
The FSA said the agency will continue to develop guidance for local authorities, businesses and consumers.