Food News

The FSA wades in on rare burgers at last

With the increase in popularity of ‘posh’ burger joints such as Byron Burger and GBK offering customers ‘rare’ or ‘pink’ burgers, it seems like actually ordering a well-cooked burger is becoming slightly unfashionable.

This is despite the fact that until the 28th August 2015 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) had guidelines in place that specifically called for burgers to be cooked through. Now, in a wave of panic in the face of an ever growing demand for rare burgers, the FSA has decided that restaurants are allowed to sell ‘pink’ burgers provided they warn customers about the health risks!

The one thing I personally don’t understand with this trend is that essentially burger meat is mince… and I like my mince cooked through! Sure, the idea of steak being cooked anything other than rare or medium rare is abhorrent to me and I have even enjoyed the occasional steak tartare, but these are fine quality bits of beef… not mince. They can be cooked rare due to the fact that searing them on the outside kills off the bacteria that can otherwise make you really unwell. Minced beef sees the outside bacteria head into the middle, negating the impact of searing the meat and leaving the diner at risk of eating harmful bacteria that hasn’t been killed off by the cooking process!

Suffice to say that while this trend has forced the FSA to admit defeat in trying to stop the practice and instead turn their focus to creating an awareness campaign, we may soon end up with cigarette packet warnings on our burger menus warning us of the dire consequences if we eat a rare burger! I do welcome the idea of consumers being advised of the risks but surely this is a case where, if you are educated enough to order your burger rare, you are wise enough to accept the responsibility of the risks without your serving team having to give you a bit of patronising advice?

Finally, despite the fact that a fair number of burger suppliers work with major restaurant chains as well as supermarkets, the FSA still doesn’t trust the home cook to do their burgers rare; it appears that regular tests, proper storage and high quality meats are in order to allow this practice of pink burgers to be accepted.

For the full update check out the FSA page here and make up your own mind. For now, I will continue enjoying my burgers cooked through! I never have liked raw mince..

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