Kitchens cooking ‘pink’ burgers must get approval from today

Organic hamburgers and various sausages are grilled at a outside Farmer's Market August 15, 2013, in Washington, DC.       AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards        (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

New regulations that govern the sale of ‘pink’ burgers by foodservice establishments were ushered into force across the UK today.

The new laws, which follow a recent Food Standards Agency consultation last year, require specific approval for establishments producing minced meat preparations for foods intended to be eaten “less than thoroughly cooked”.

This applies to caterers selling less well-cooked (“4-log10”) burgers. A 4-log10 reduction in pathogens means that if there are 10 million E. coli then the cooking process would reduce numbers to 1000.

Approval must be secured by either the FSA or the Local Authority, with a “definitive” list of establishments approved for this activity to be published on the FSA website.

“This list is intended to help businesses find a suitable supplier if they want to serve less than thoroughly cooked burgers,” said the FSA.

The agency added that it was important to note that caterers must still follow many other requirements if they wish to serve burgers that are not cooked to achieve a “6-log10” reduction in pathogens. This includes letting a local authority Environmental Health Officer know that this is done.

A 6-log reduction in pathogens means if there are 10 million E. coli then the cooking process will reduce the numbers to 10. This is generally known as pasteurisation.

The FSA said that those cooking to achieve a “6-log10” reduction in pathogens do not need to take any action – just continue using these time and temperature combinations:

75 °C for 30 seconds
70 °C for 2 minutes
65 °C for 13.6 minutes
60 °C for 93 minutes

The requirement is applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from today. Different regulations apply in Scotland.

The British Hospitality Association has produced a comprehensive Q&A on cooking rare burgers for commercial kitchens, which can be read HERE.

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