On 9 September 2015, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) released details on its website confirming its recent finding that the preparation and service of rare burgers in food outlets is unacceptable unless a validated and verified food safety management plan is in place.

Due to the increased popularity of burgers being served rare, the FSA has released a range of controls that businesses should follow if serving rare burgers. The long standing advice of the FSA remains the same – that burgers should be cooked thoroughly to kill bugs that may be present.

Will it impact upon my business?

The FSA has stated that its suggested controls should be in place throughout the supply chain of mince. Clearly the controls will be far reaching and something that all those in the food industry involved with mince will need to sit up and take note of.

What action is required?

  • Should a business wish to serve burgers rare they will need to notify their local authority in advance
  • Suppliers of mince will have to provide assurances to the FSA on the controls intended for consumption rare or lightly cooked burgers
  • Effective consumer advisory statements will be required on menus where rare burgers are served. The FSA proposes to take the lead on this to ensure consistency
  • An FSA communications plan is implemented to explain the risks and controls to the public
  • Infection rates will be closely monitored and any changes brought to the FSA’s attention

When will I need to act?

The answer is to act now – the FSA has stated that it will provide further guidance in due course but suggests businesses make enquiries with their respective local authority to discuss potential food safety management plans to ensure the controls identified by the FSA are being effectively addressed.

Businesses who wish to familiarise themselves with the FSA’s decision can click on the following link to find out more:

https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2015/14419/fsa-board-decision-on-rare-burgers.