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FSA permits sale of 'pink burgers' - with caveats

The Nationwide Caterers Association seeks assurance on 'pink burgers' from FSA:

In light of recent advice from the FSA regarding less than thoroughly cooked meat patties, numerous NCASS members have been in contact with concerns regarding the advice provided and the timescales provided to adjust to the changes. (These changes apply to the proposal of approval of the suppliers of minced meat / meat preparations for use in the service of pink / medium rare burgers. This raw product still requires further treatment in order to make it safe. Members still need to have their procedures in place to ensure they are producing safe food. This has not changed.)

We have been in regular contact with the FSA and the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for the past two weeks to get our customers the clarity they need.

Enforcement action may occur even if there is not an incident. If the member has not put into place adequate validated controls to reduce the risk to an acceptable level; i.e. a sear and shave process or log 4 reduction in bacteria during the cooking process plus supplier assurances, enforcement action may be taken.

Protection for NCASS members:

In order to help NCASS members through the process, we have been asked to compile a list of all NCASS members currently offering or looking to offer ‘Less than Thoroughly Cooked’ (LTTC) burgers along with details of the abattoir / slaughterhouse and cutting plant / butchers where the meat is produced.

The FSA will be looking to work with the abattoirs and cutting plants to fast track them through the process of achieving the required standards that will enable them to produce and sell meat that can be less than thoroughly cooked.

The food businesses cooking and selling the burgers will still have to develop and maintain strict validated controls. NCASS members will be able to work with our Primary Authority Partners, Cherwell District Council to develop and validate these controls, however, this specialist business specific advice will come at a cost to cover the time of Cherwell EH and microbiological testing to validate those processes.

Looking to sell 'pink?' Get in touch with The Nationwide Caterers Association:

If you are currently selling or looking to sell ‘pink’, ‘medium rare’ or ‘Less than thoroughly cooked’ burgers please email NCASS on to provide your name, business name, membership number and details of your meat supplier so we can hopefully reduce the probability of enforcement action being taken.

The verbal assurances received will only apply to NCASS members who inform us that they are selling or looking to sell LTTC Burgers or products as otherwise the FSA will not have the required information to help you.     

Note – The NCASS Due Diligence pack currently does not include any steps for the preparation and serving of LTTC burgers. This system will not reflect the hazards, CPs or CCPs for the production of LTTC burgers. Separate arrangement must be made, if you would like to discuss this will Cherwell District Council please let us know. 

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