New FSA consultation and barbecue campaign

The campaign comes as the FSA tries to ease ongoing food hygiene concerns around food outlets safely serving customers rare burgers, with the proposal that meat used should be sourced from specially FSA approved premises.

The campaign to run over the upcoming bank holiday weekend will focus on making sure burgers prepared at home are cooked all the way through. It will emphasise that burgers are not like steaks and that mince bought from supermarkets, regardless of how high quality, must be fully cooked.

The advice from the FSA is that burgers when cooked at home should always be cooked thoroughly all the way through, until they are steaming hot throughout and there is no pink meat or juices. However, when it comes to cooking burgers in professional kitchens the FSA has stated that it is acceptable to serve burgers that are not thoroughly cooked if suitable pathogenic reduction methods have been introduced into the food chain.

The FSA is also currently seeking views on the possibility of introducing specific approval for those slaughterhouses and cutting plants which supply minced meat and meat preparations intended to be eaten less than thoroughly cooked. HPs are being encouraged to respond to the consultation which was launched on 5th July and closes 12th September. The proposed changes will be applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Food Standards Scotland is considering the matter separately.

When asked to clarify its most up-to-date position on rare burgers the FSA issued the following statement, “The FSA position is largely in line with that of the ACMSF. For businesses who use cooking as the only control to ensure that food is safe, the FSA advises that they use the time and temperature combinations suggested by the ACMSF in their report on the safe cooking of burgers in 2007. However, the FSA also recognises that some restaurants are able to put in place strict controls throughout the supply chain, significantly reducing the risk from burgers that are pink in the middle. There is still some risk involved if burgers are not thoroughly cooked when eating out, so we advise that children, and anyone who is more vulnerable to food poisoning such as the elderly, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system, should only eat burgers that are thoroughly cooked all the way through.”

Assurity Consulting are leading experts in workplace health, safety and environmental compliance. Our team of food safety experts have vast experience working with different forms of catering. For more information, please contact us on tel. +44 (0)1403 269375 or email us