Do you like your hamburgers medium-rare? If you’re in New South Wales you will have to readjust your taste buds and cooking technique.
Recently, the NSW Food Authority indicated they would beef-up enforcement around the guidelines to cooking mince meat, fearing the growing ‘undercooked’ burger trend could spark fresh E. coli food poisoning cases.
However its sudden enforcement hasn’t gone down well with many businesses, reputable chefs and customers voicing their frustrations and labelling the guidelines as a ‘huge mistake’.
But the government body isn’t budging, with NSW food inspectors prepared to hand out $1,540 fines if they discover businesses are in breach of the guidelines, which require hamburger mince to be cooked to 71 degrees and until there is no visible pink meat.
Why the sudden fuss?
In the authority’s Hamburger Food Safety Factsheet they state, “To reduce the potential for foodborne illness, minced meat should be cooked right through to the centre. No pink should be visible and juices should run clear.”
According to The New Daily, a spokesperson for the authority said they were taking a “proactive” stance to food safety.
“Hamburger meat has always traditionally been cooked thoroughly,”
“This is why the NSW Food Authority’s advice, with regard to the emerging trend of rare or undercooked burgers as identified by council EHO’s [Environmental Health Officers], is to always recommend cooking mincemeat products to 71-degrees.”
The authority has suddenly cracked down on the undercooked burger trend, as they fear it could be a risk for public health. When reviewing data from the United States, who has had this trend for ‘some time’ – they identified that there were a number of outbreaks of E. coli and a total of five deaths since 1993.
At this stage, there have been no reports of illness or hospitalisation in Australia caused by undercooked burgers.
Where to go for more information?
If you have any questions or require further information on the new hamburger guidelines and the correct cooking temperatures visit www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au or phone 1300 552 406.