Beef Burgers and other minced beef preparations served “rare”
New regulations have taken effect which apply to caterers selling less well-cooked or “rare” burgers. Any caterers wishing to serve less than thoroughly cooked burgers will need to seek verification from their meat supplier that the supplier is approved either by the FSA or their local authority.
Bacteria, like E. coli, tend to be found on the outside surfaces of meat, and if you mince up meat, for a burger, for example, the outside surfaces are then mixed up with bacteria inside and this means that any E. coli from the outside could be mixed all the way through.
Longstanding FSA advice is that the safest approach to cooking burgers is to ensure that they are cooked thoroughly all the way through.
The FSA says it is unacceptable unless a “validated and verified food safety management plan is applied that combines the following steps”:
• The meat must be sourced from premises that are approved to supply minced meat intended to be eaten raw or lightly cooked.
• The supplier needs to have sampling and testing regimes that would identify pathogens including Salmonella and E. coli O157
• The FSA also insists that businesses must identify how the burgers would be prepared and cooked, i.e. how the minced meat would be cooked to reduce the possibility of 10 million E. coli to only a maximum of 10 E. coli after cooking (6-log10 reduction). This would probably need to be assessed in a laboratory as well as in practice, and could be expensive.
• Methods such as sear and shave (which have been used by some caterers) where the outside of a large piece of meat is heat-treated and then that part shaved off, and the rest is then treated as virtually “ready-to-eat” and kept free of contamination may not work in small kitchens and may even introduce cross-contamination hazards.
• Evidence that cooking times and temperatures have been monitored accurately.
It is recommended that cooking at 70°C for two minutes at the centre of the meat or 75°C for 30 seconds would be sufficient to achieve the required reduction of pathogens, such as E.coli.
There are Q&A from the British Hospitality Association here http://www.bha.org.uk/bha_news/q-a-on-medium-and-rare-burgers/
Where to find the approved meat supplier list
At the time of writing (May 2017) there were only 5 premises on the list.
The list is on this page https://www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/sectorrules/meatplantsprems/approvedmeatplants/
with the list at the bottom of the page.
In future, any burger served “rare” must be made with meat from the approved list.
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