FSA reminds consumers about safe preparation of burgers at home

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is reminding people to take care when preparing and cooking burgers at home. This reminder is being issued as part of the FSA’s ongoing work looking at managing safety controls around higher risk foods like rare burgers.

Steve Wearne, Director of Food Policy, at the FSA, said: ‘The most important thing to remember is to cook your burgers so they are steaming hot all the way through, that none of it is pink and that any juices run clear. The reason we advise people to do this is because when burgers are produced any harmful bacteria that may have been on the surface of the raw meat when it is minced will be spread throughout the burger.

‘The situation with steak and other whole cuts of beef and lamb is different. These cuts can be served rare because they are only ever contaminated by bacteria on the outside of the meat, which are destroyed during cooking even if the middle of the meat is pink, or rare.

‘It’s also important to remember to avoid cross contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking and using different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food.’

Some restaurants offer rare or medium rare burgers as an option. There are no rules against this but these food businesses should be able to demonstrate that they have the necessary additional controls in place to allow them to prepare and serve the burgers safely. The FSA is currently exploring the potential for precautionary labelling with caterers.

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