MPI says raw and rare meat can still be served if proven safe

The Ministry of Primary Industries has offered to work on its new rules for cooking meat after a restauranteur said they stopped him from selling his signature medium-rare burger.

Daniel Fraser - executive chef at The Duke of Marlborough restaurant in the Bay of Islands - posted on Facebook on Thursday lamenting the new rules, calling it a case of "bureaucracy gone mad".

The rules say meat and liver needs to be cooked at a high temperature for a longer amount of time than previously so as to avoid any contamination, but under those new rules a medium-rare burger such as Mr Fraser's would not be possible.

Mr Fraser's Facebook post read: "It is with great sadness and regret that we will no longer be able to sell the Duke's governors burger".

"We are only allowed to cook our burger to a dry, rubbery well-done and I'm not proud to serve this. Good-bye dear friend, it's been a great 6 years.... I'll miss you xx".

According to Mr Fraser's post the restaurant would also no longer be able to serve steak tartare, Carpaccio and duck/chicken liver parfait.

However, MPI Director Peter Thompson told NZ Herald there is no need for restaurants to change their menus, so long as the chefs can prove to inspectors that the food is safe.

An MPI spokesperson also told 1 NEWS "MPI has reached out to Dan Fraser the executive chef of the Duke of Marlborough offering to work with him on a bespoke Food Control Plan that would keep his medium rare burger on the menu, in a way that’s safe for consumers.

"MPI is happy to work with chefs wanting to develop a bespoke Food Control Plan that covers their specific menu items.

"The methods in a bespoke plan might require different methods of sourcing, storing and handling the meat to make sure consumers are still protected.

"Each of these plans will be specific to the business to ensure they are able to service customers well, while remaining safe.

The spokesperson did not have an estimate for how many venues would be affected by the new Food Control Plan, but said that the new rules were "developed in conjunction with cooks and chefs fro ma variety of food businesses".

"Every business known to be using the previous Food Control Plan template was asked to comment on the new template before it was finalised".