HSE grills burger restaurants on rare meat
A Dublin burger restaurant has agreed to sell all its burgers cooked medium to well-done, after receiving a warning from the HSE.
14 February 2011
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has asked a Dublin burger restaurant to stop serving undercooked mince.
Jo’burger in Rathmines, Dublin, opened three years ago, and offered customers a choice in how they would like their burgers cooked, with medium-rare and rare proving popular options.
Owner Joe Macken said “no issues” had ever arisen as a result. He said the restaurant’s burger meat, sourced from Dublin butcher Pat McLoughlin, is fully traceable. Jo’burger’s meat is delivered fresh everyday and shaped by hand on the premises using 100% beef.
However the HSE warned serving undercooked meat could prove dangerous, based on strict cooking guidelines from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. These state that when meat is minced, its surface, where the E.coli bacterium is typically found, will end up ground through the burger. This differs from steak, where any surface contamination is killed during cooking.
Macken was already aware of the concerns some people might hold about undercooked mince, and had placed a disclaimer on his menu stating: “Note eating of undercooked or raw meat may lead to food-borne illness.”
Despite this declaimer, an environmental health officer demanded Macken stop offering rare or medium-rare burgers unless he could prove there were no safety issues.
The restaurant owner said he considered this “over-regulation”, but Jo’burger has since removed its disclaimer and is fully compliant with HSE advice; serving all of its burgers medium to well done. The Gourmet Burger restaurant in Rathmines also serves all its burgers medium to well done following an HSE request.