New Zealand’s oldest licensed premises has pulled a burger that’s been the cornerstone of its menu – blaming it on bureaucratic red tape gone mad.
Nicole Lawton of The Sunday Star Times reports new food preparation guidelines from MPI state minced meat and liver needs to be cooked at high temperatures for a longer amount of time than previously, to avoid contamination.
Fraser said the new rules were a raw deal and will now prevent him serving his signature burger The Governor’s Burger which is pink and juicy in the middle.
The Governor’s Burger features bacon, cheese, pickle, tomato, chipotle mayonnaise and a medium rare beef mince patty.
“It’s a really good burger, we really pride ourselves in presenting it to our customers,” Fraser said.
“Basically, the ministry is telling us how our customers need to eat their food.”
MPI food and beverage manager Sally Johnston, said the new rules didn’t entirely ban medium-rare meat – but chefs would have to change how they cooked it.
“If they do want to serve a medium-rare burger, it is possible, it just might take a little more forethought and planning,” Johnston said.
“It is possible to cook a medium-rare burger safely, it just means that they need to think about the processes that they are using to do that. It might not be necessarily possible to do that on a BBQ or grill.”
She suggest sous vide methods of cooking instead – what people used to call boil-in-the-bag.
“Who the f*** wants a sous vide burger?”, Fraser said.
The new rules state meat should have an internal minimum temperature of 65°C for 15 minutes while cooked, 70°C for three minutes, or 75°C for 30 seconds.
But Fraser said those were rules drawn up by a bureaucrat and not a chef. They meant a beef mince patty would always be “rubbery and devoid of flavour”.
Johnston insists the new rules are necessary. “People have died from under cooked burgers, there is a genuine food safety risk here, we’re not doing this to take the fun out of food. Bugs that have caused people to die (such as E. coli) are frequently found in New Zealand meat.”
The new MPI guidelines detail how restaurants and food businesses should prepare, store and serve their food, and supplement the 2014 Food Act.
Top chef Ray McVinnie told Stuff NZ that serving a medium-rare burger is “dangerous and dumb” and that any chef who complains about such regulations does not understand basic food safety.
Yesterday, the Ministry for Primary Industries decided they will be talking to chefs about ways they can serve medium rare burgers and still keep food safe for consumers.
“We’re happy to work with chefs wanting to develop a custom Food Control Plan that covers their specific menu items. It might need different methods of sourcing, storing, and handling meat to make sure consumers are still protected.”
The move by MPI to regulate chefs’ kitchens brought howls of outrage and ridicule from those interviewed by the NZ Herald.
Labour’s Damien O’Connor said it was “ridiculous overkill”.
“We’ve got strict controls on how you kill and process meat. To then look at the cooking of it is nanny-state gone mad.
Northland MP Winston Peters, who has eaten at the Duke of Marlborough often over the years, said “paternalistic bureaucrats” were killing New Zealand businesses.
Sick customers ruin biz.
I look forward to the microbiologically-based arguments the talking heads will bring to the public discussion.
Assessment of risk communication about undercooked hamburgers by restaurant servers
Ellen M. Thomas, RTI International; Andrew Binder, Anne McLaughlin, Lee-Ann Jaykus, Dana Hanson, and Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University; and Doug Powell, powellfoodsafety.com
Journal of Food Protection
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2013 Model Food Code, it is the duty of a food establishment to disclose and remind consumers of risk when ordering undercooked food such as ground beef. The purpose of this study was to explore actual risk communication activities of food establishment servers. Secret shoppers visited restaurants (n=265) in seven geographic locations across the U.S., ordered medium rare burgers, and collected and coded risk information from chain and independent restaurant menus and from server responses. The majority of servers reported an unreliable method of doneness (77%) or other incorrect information (66%) related to burger doneness and safety. These results indicate major gaps in server knowledge and risk communication, and the current risk communication language in the Model Food Code does not sufficiently fill these gaps. Furthermore, should servers even be acting as risk communicators? There are numerous challenges associated with this practice including high turnover rates, limited education, and the high stress environment based on pleasing a customer. If it is determined that servers should be risk communicators, food establishment staff should be adequately equipped with consumer advisory messages that are accurate, audience-appropriate, and delivered in a professional manner so as to help their customers make more informed food safety decisions.