We’ve known since the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 that the big hamburger chains are concerned about cooking temperatures. Jack-in-the Box did not like Washington State’s rule for cooking ground beef to 158 degrees Fahrenheit because customers complained about the hamburgers being too tough to eat.
Sixteen years have passed, but the big hamburger chains are still getting those kind of complaints. In the UK, McDonald’s submitted information to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) about possible reduction in cooking times.
The government’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food requires that hamburgers be cooked for two minutes at 158 degrees Fahrenheit. However, other times and temperatures can be used when procedures are proven to be safe.
That’s what McDonald’s was up to in the UK when the victim’s rights group known as HUSH requested a copy of the information that the world’s biggest hamburger chain had submitted to weaken the rule. FSA refused to give up the information to HUSH.
On appeal, however, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) upheld the HUSH complaint. HUSH argued it could not contribute to the consultation without all the facts.
McDonald’s said its “top priority” is customer safety and that it “fully complies” with FSA guidelines.