Serving rare burgers - CIEH comment

Publication Date: 1st September 2015

Subject: Food safety

Following the FSA’s publication around new proposals on serving rare burgers, Jenny Morris, Principal Policy Officer for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), said: 

“The latest paper from the FSA on serving rare burgers provides much more detail on the necessary measures to reduce food safety risks and we look forward to the Board discussion on the proposals.

“Looking at the paper, the requirements to ensure ‘acceptable levels’ of risk are complex and require sophisticated and validated food safety management systems along the supply chain. For many food businesses contemplating serving rare burgers this is likely to require considerable investment and change to existing systems. It is important that the requirements are fully understood and early discussions with Environmental Health Officers are recommended, as the approach will not be suitable for all food businesses.”

Jenny Morris added: “The advice for ‘home cooking’ has not changed. Burgers should be thoroughly cooked, with no ‘pink bits’ present. It is only in commercial businesses, where strict checks and controls are in place, that the FSA believes the risks can be sufficiently reduced to allow consumers to decide on their cooking preferences. Businesses will be required to remind consumers about risks and that rare burgers are not suitable for the very young, the elderly or similar groups vulnerable to infection.

“The science shows that it is possible to reduce the risks and produce ‘fairly safe’ rare burgers but this requires special controls, which won’t be in place for the majority of burger production. The danger is that this will be misunderstood and people will consider that undercooking is OK with any burger. Clearly this is not the case as recent outbreaks in Scotland and Northern Ireland have shown.”


Notes to editors    

FSA’s press release with details of the new proposals on serving rare burgers:   

CIEH spokespeople are available for interviews and for media enquiries please contact Steven Fifer on: 020 7827 5922 or email   

Further information on CIEH’s position on food safety and nutrition:   

About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):     

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved.   

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities.   

The CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.    

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