FSAI highlights danger of serving undercooked minced beef burgers

A report from The Food Safety Authority is highlighting a trend to serve undercooked minced beef burgers.

The FSAI is reminding caterers and restaurants to cook the meat fully to avoid food poisoning.

In Ireland, 3% of raw minced beef is known to be contaminated with a harmful type of E Coli that can cause kidney failure.

Children under five years of age and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to this type of E Coli.

A published factsheet advises that minced beef burgers should be temperature tested prior to serving.

According to Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI, during the summer months, minced beef burgers are a highly popular go-to food for many people, however, food safety should never be compromised for speed or to cater for trends in consumer taste.

“There should be no compromise on food safety. We have had people become ill due to a serious food poisoning outbreak associated with undercooked beef burgers in a catering establishment.

Chefs and caterers must ensure that minced beef burgers are cooked thoroughly before serving and waiting staff should not ask customers how they want their minced beef burgers cooked.

"Food service businesses must have a food safety management system in place which identifies the hazards and outlines the critical control points to ensure food safety.

"Cooking food to the correct temperature is the critical control point for serving safe minced beef burgers. Regular checks should be carried out on the core temperature of minced beef burgers using a probe thermometer, as colour alone is not a reliable indicator.

"Consumers also need to ensure that when they are cooking minced beef burgers at home, that they are cooked until they are piping hot all the way through. Given the serious health risks associated with consuming undercooked minced beef burgers, this advice should not be taken lightly,” said Dr Byrne.

    The FSAI states that:

  • Minced beef burgers must be fully cooked to ensure they are safe to eat
  • Minced beef burgers should be cooked to a temperature of 75°C tested at the thickest part of the burger by a food thermometer or to one of the equivalent temperature time combinations outlined in its factsheet
  • Caterers should not serve, offer or advertise undercooked or ‘pink’ minced beef burgers
  • Failure to serve minced beef burgers that are safe to eat can make people seriously ill and place a food business open to legal action

- Digital Desk

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