Faith-based food safety not enough, Dublin restaurant told to cook burgers

A Dublin restaurant has been told by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to stop serving burgers cooked rare and medium-rare or face legal action.

The Rathmines restaurant Jo’burger has been warned by the Environmental Health Officer with the HSE to serve only well-done burgers or prove that undercooked meat can be served without the risk of E. coli bacteria and other contamination.

Jo’burger received a written warning this month that continuing to serve burgers cooked rare or medium rare could represent a “risk to public health.”

Restaurant owner Joe Macken said he had first been warned about the issue of undercooked burgers when the restaurant opened over three years ago. He responded by putting a disclaimer at the bottom of the menu, telling customers: “We will serve your burger as you request it, rare to well-done. Rare and medium-rare burgers are undercooked. Note eating of undercooked or raw meat may lead to food borne illness.”

He said the rare and medium-rare burger was a popular choice among his customers.

Asked how he could be sure his customers would not get sick, he said he was not sure. “But we have a belief in our product,” he said, and in the abattoir that produces the mince and sends it to them vacuum-packed. “The last thing they want is an E.coli outbreak.”