FSA Update: Approved Meat Plants

Following a recent Food Standards Agency consultation, new regulations have come into force requiring specific approval for establishments producing minced meat preparations for foods intended to be eaten less than thoroughly cooked. This means that caterers selling less well-cooked (“4-log10”[1]) burgers need to use an approved supplier.

For concerned establishments, approval must be secured by either the FSA or the Local Authority and a definitive list of establishments approved for this activity will be published on the FSA website. This list is intended to help businesses find a suitable supplier if they want to serve less than thoroughly cooked burgers.

However, it is important to note that caterers must still follow many other requirements if they wish to serve burgers that are not cooked to achieve a “6-log10[2]” reduction in pathogens. This includes letting your local authority Environmental Health Officer know that you are doing this.

Those who are cooking to achieve a “6-log10” reduction in pathogens do not need to take any action – just continue using these time and temperature combinations:

  • 75 °C for 30 seconds
  • 70 °C for 2 minutes
  • 65 °C for 13.6 minutes
  • 60 °C for 93 minutes

This requirement will be applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and will enter into force with effect from 1 March 2017. Different regulations apply in Scotland.

Updated 8th March: Following recent discussions with FSA officials, we are advised that those companies who have already created a HACCP plan for steak tartare using sear and shave methods should continue to produce this dish in accordance with their HACCP and should not change their method of preparation. Further guidance will be provided by the Food Standards agency shortly.

The BHA has produced a Q&A on cooking rare burgers. Please read this for more information:
http://www.bha.org.uk/bha_news/q-a-on-medium-and-rare-burgers/

For the FSA web page please visit: https://www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/sectorrules/meatplantsprems/approvedmeatplants/

 

For more information please contact Gabriella Bittante, BHA Policy Manager, gabriella@bha.org.uk.

 

[1] A 4-log10 reduction in pathogens means that if there are 10 million E. coli then the cooking process would reduce numbers to 1000. This is why it is important to reduce bacterial levels further down the chain if you choose to cook to achieve a  4-log10 reduction.

[2] A 6-log10 reduction in pathogens means if there are 10 million E. coli then the cooking process will reduce the numbers to 10. This is generally known as pasteurisation.

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