Food Standards Agency Barbecue Weekend Campaign

Food Standards Agency - Barbecue Weekend 2016

Food Hygiene, Food Safety, Food Standards Agency, FSA
Food Standards Agency

August Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday 27 - Monday 29 August)

Recently we have seen more and more  food businesses  offering ‘gourmet burgers’ and asking customers how they would like the burger cooked – including the option to have a burger cooked pink in the middle or “rare”. But, there is a risk which comes with this choice that people aren’t always fully aware of.

Burgers served less than fully cooked can remain contaminated with harmful bacteria. This is because any bacteria that may have been on the surface of the raw meat when minced will be spread throughout the burger and will not be killed if all parts of the burger aren’t fully cooked. It’s not like a steak or other whole cut of beef and lamb. These cuts can be served pink/rare because they only tend to be contaminated by bacteria on the outside of the meat; these bacteria are destroyed during cooking the outside even if the middle of the meat is left pink, or rare. With a burger or any other minced meat product (e.g. sausages, and kebabs), the outside is mixed up into the inside.

You can’t see, smell or taste bacteria, but it could be there, no matter how high quality the meat.

Harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and certain types of E. coli, can cause serious food poisoning with symptoms such as feeling sick, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, stomach cramps and abdominal pain through to much more serious, sometimes life threatening illness.

The Food Standards Agency advice published in May is aimed at helping those businesses which serve rare burgers understand the need for, and know how to, put the right controls in place to reduce the risks and provide Local Authorities with the basis for assessing those controls.

The FSA's Barbecue Weekend Campaign focusses on advising people of the little things they can do that keep friends and family safe;

  • Burgers are not like steak.  Steak can be served rare because any external contamination is destroyed when the steak is sealed.  Burgers are made of minced meat so contamination on the outside goes to the inside.  A burger should be thoroughly cooked all the way through, no matter how good quality and expensive the meat.
  • Even though you can't see them, bacteria can still be there and it can still make you seriously ill.
  • Cook burgers thoroughly until they are steaming hot throughout not pink on the inside and the juices run clear.

It's the little things that you do that keep your loved ones safe.  Especially children, the elderly and poorly people in your family - don't give them food poisoning.  If you cook for your friends and family serve them safe food;

  • Avoid cross contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking, using different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked meat.
  • Wash your hands after touching raw meat and before you handle ready to eat food.

To speak to an officer please telephone: 01429 523341/284157 or email: