Clamp down on the serving of rare burgers

Published: 15 Dec 2016

Throughout 2016, the subject of rare burgers has been in the news on several occasions. At CSC we continue to advise our clients to control food safety hazard and ensure burgers are safe to eat.

It has come to our attention that Local Authorities have been asked by Government to clamp down on the serving of rare burgers unless the Food Standards Agency advice on serving raw burgers is followed:

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.

For fully cooked burgers the following time/ temperature relationship must be achieved:

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


Any action by the local EHOs’ could include Hygiene Improvement Notices, Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notices, prosecution or simple cautions.

CSC would therefore like to reiterate the importance of protecting your business and your customers buy ensuring the burgers you sell are safe and that this can be demonstrated.

“The safest burger is a well cooked burger.”

The FSA  has indicated that there is still some risk involved whenever a burger is not thoroughly cooked.

When meat is minced, harmful bacteria from the surface of the raw meat will be spread all the way through the meat. It is therefore possible that these bacteria will not be destroyed if the burger is not fully cooked. Undercooked burgers increase the risk of the spread of E-Coli, especially to vulnerable groups (including adults over 60, pregnant women, children and persons with immune-compromised conditions).

For further advice please contact CSC.