The directors of a burger restaurant near Portsmouth are fighting a legal battle with their local council after being ordered to stop serving "pink" burgers.
Portsmouth City Council has issued 6 Oz Burgers in Southsea with a hygiene emergency prohibition order, arguing that "serving undercooked burgers" represented a "risk to public safety" thanks to "the bacterial loading of the mince".
Directors James Baldry and Piotr Mientkiewicz first introduced the option eight months ago upon opening their site, arguing that it makes the burgers taste better.
The duo is now fighting the ban, maintaining that the burgers are of high-quality meat and pose no threat to health. They have enlisted a food microbiologist to undertake an investigation into the burgers' safety, which they claim has backed up their case, and are also planning to sue for defamation and loss of business.
In a statement to The Caterer, Baldry said: "We have always stood by the quality of our burgers and our safety procedures. As a consequence, we are having to undergo a long and costly legal battle with the council to prove them wrong."
He also added that since introducing the option, up to April this year, over 80% of the 20,000 burgers sold had been served pink at the customers' request, and that no-one had become ill as a result of eating one. Pending the result of the case, however, all burgers at the restaurant are now being served well-done.
Commenting on the case, co-director Mientkiewicz told The Caterer
He added that the restaurant produces all of its burgers from chuck steak in one muscle, and also confirmed that the company had a good relationship with its local butcher and beef supplier.
Davy's, a burger group with 26 restaurants across London, was also served with a similar hygiene notice, but managed to overturn the ban in the courts last year, forcing Westminster City Council to deny that it had effectively banned rare and medium burgers. The microbiologist helping 6 Oz Burgers was also said to be the same individual who helped Davy's.
The story comes ahead of National Burger Day on 27 August.
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