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Burger restaurants cautioned over serving rare meat

A burger from Jo'Burger

Here’s one.  The gourmet burger chain Jo’Burger has had to stop offering rare and medium-rare burgers to its customers after the HSE warned them off.   Gourmet Burger Company in Ranelagh received a similar warning, and their letter to the Irish Times about it appeared in the paper today.

The HSE’s position is that consumers could become ill – eating undercooked meat increases the risk of E.Coli and other bacterial contaminations.  The restaurants’ position is that they give ample warning on their menus and customers should be allowed to choose for themselves.

What do you think?


  1. I think that when its mince a rare cooking is more dangerous than if it was steak-something to do with the way more of the ground meat has been exposed to the outside and thus could have more germs. I have gotten a medium burger in Jo Burger, not by choice! Thats just the way it arrived & I was never asked how I wanted it cooked. It should be a lot more explicit. So my opinion is: Steaks-whatever way you like, burgers-cook em well done!

  2. Leave it to the customer to decide. I prefer my burgers medium. If someone wants theirs well done, then ask for it that way.

  3. Burgers should always be cooked through. Then again, I love the raw mixture for buns and biscuits which contains raw eggs, and consistently ignored my mother when she told me not to lick the spoon because of the salmonella.

  4. You’ve gotta love the last line of the letter he wrote to the IT, where he says:

    “I cook my burgers for my own consumption medium rare, I continue to live in fear of Mustapha Mond, not the beef.”

    That’s brilliant!

  5. I dont agree with this diktat from the HSE. I can cook and serve burgers any way i like (very rare) at home and look for the same when eating out. I think they ought to leave us alone.Why do they not take some serious action against tobacco which is always harmful to ones health instead of this fiddling around they are doingwith health warnings and display regulations etc

  6. I don’t agree with the HSE at all, it’s about consumer choice. Will the be making steak tartare illegal next?

  7. The only reason I can see why you would need to cook mince so that it is well done is a poor mincing process. If the meat and mincing machinery is clean then the only germs which could be mixed in with the mince are the same germs which we we come into contact with simply by living and breathing. If the quality of the meat and mincing process is excellent, as is with Jo’Burger and Gourmet Burger, there is nothing to fear from rare or medium burgers. I’ve never had a bad meal at Jo’Burger and have had plenty of medium rare burgers there.

  8. Paying customers should have the right to choose what way they want their meat cooked. In the States burgers are always cooked medium. As long as the consumer is aware of the risks then everyone is happy!

  9. Spot on Laura, Im paying so I want my meal cooked as I like it. Dont give me another reason to stay at home.

  10. The key is on the safety so the HSE should demand that. If the restaurant wants to offer the risk, and customers are happy to take that risk, the restaurant must assure high standards in their kitchen. If they don’t, and the customer gets sick, then the customer has the choice to take action against them and the authorities may have a reason to issue a notice.
    Rights and choice, with responsibility, that’s the way forward for me.

  11. Next they’ll be saying I can’t have my fried eggs runny. It’s matter of consumer choice. If something should be banned it should be incinerated burgers and steaks. Well-done beef isn’t worth eating.

  12. I once asked for a rare burger in gourmet burger kitchen. the guy then told me that was illegal, i told him my favourite place serves it rare . He had a regular stroppy fit, asked where that was and told me he would personally close them down…

  13. It’s ridiculous of the HSE to weigh in like this. I’m a bit squeamish about my food, and rare steak ain’t to my particular taste, but let the customer decide – not some faceless autocratic state body!

  14. In France and Belgium, we serve “steak tartares” or “Americains”…. raw minced beef with raw egg yolk and ketchup. The HSE would have a fit

  15. Hmm…my first response was ‘this wouldn’t happen in Australia’. As a rule, burgers are served medium – not in Maccas or the like, but in the more gourmet type establishments. As far as I know, there’s never been any cases of illness because of this.

    The HSE intervention just seems a bit too nanny-state for me.

  16. What is the HSE going to issue next? A warning not to leave our houses when it rains, just in case we get wet and get the flu. I live in Madrid and own a bar and restaurant here, if meat is properly stored and your supplier is reputable you shouldn’t have a problem. Anyhow, if you are old enough to vote, you are old enough to choose how you want to eat your burger. Personally, I love a rare burger and steak tartar.

  17. Can anything be done to combat the absurd HSE policy? If butchering is handled appropriately, there should not be an issue. If the HSE does not come to my house to tell me how to cook, they have no business in my restaurant as long as the restaurant makes it clear what the HSE has recommended…The policy does not make any sense, because the quote from HSE in the Irish Times suggests that Jo’Burger should prove that there medium rare or rare burgers do not pose a health risk. Can foodies band together and demand the right to choose? I want a rare burger!!! By the way, on a recent trip to Paris I was amazed at the number of restaurants that served tartare and touted the fact that they served Irish beef.

  18. I’m a rare, medium, done and well done (but no burnt bits) person as a guest in a private house. As long as its clean hands hand made. In a restaurant I like a medium rare, pink just gone one. The less compacted the better. I’ve stopped having beef burger at my favorite local restaurant because they had to go, HSE directed, from hand made to compacted made ones, still the same A grade first class quality pure beef minced. The burger is just one of the options. I’m still working my way through everything else on the menu. Delicious.
    However, be that as it may, if we did get food poisoning as in diarrhea and vomiting at the same time body convulsing to its own rhythm doing what it has to do to recover. What would we do.
    a) Never go back to that restaurant again & tell friends.
    b) Tell the restaurant and see what they have to say.
    c) Report the restaurant to HSE.
    d) Sue.