New requirements for businesses serving rare burgers

10 September 2015  •  Author(s): Victoria White

Earlier this month, prompted by the increasing popularity of burgers served rare, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigated how businesses can meet consumer demand  while ensuring that public health remains protected.


The FSA Board have agreed 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.

The FSA’s long-standing advice to consumers that they should cook burgers thoroughly to kill any bugs that may be present remains unchanged.

New requirements for businesses wanting to serve rare burgers

The FSA Board had been asked to consider a range of controls businesses should make sure are in place if they are serving rare burgers. These include sourcing 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 and providing consumer advice on menus regarding the additional risk from burgers which are not thoroughly cooked.

The FSA Board voted to support the new approach but with the following requirements:

  • businesses wanting to serve rare burgers pre-notify their local authority
  • the Board is given reassurances on the controls that suppliers of mince intended for consumption rare in burgers have in place
  • effective consumer advisory statements will be required on menus where rare burgers are served
  • 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 approach agreed by the FSA Board will improve consumer protection by making it clear to businesses the circumstances under which service of rare burgers is acceptable and the stringent controls that must apply.

In light of the Board’s decision, the FSA has said it will continue developing guidance for local authorities, businesses and consumers.

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