The executive chef at New Zealand’s oldest licensed premises caused nationwide uproar after pulling a medium-rare burger from his menu, citing over-enthusiastic food safety regulations.
Dan Fraser, of the Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell, announced that the restaurant would no longer serve the Governer’s Burger, served with a medium rare pattie, as new regulations would force him to cook it in such a way that he would rather not serve it.
MPI director Peter Thompson responded to the backlash by explaining that restaurants would not need to change as long as they could prove to food inspectors that their methods produced food that was safe for customers to eat. Thompson also said that the distributed guidelines were intended to be generic, and didn’t account for specialist outlets or items.
“We have offered to work with chefs to develop a bespoke food control plan or to develop a new section to go into the template,” Thompson explained, adding that special guidelines for mince could be included in the new guideline template.
The backtrack came after a number of MPs expressed their frustration at what they saw as the rise of a ‘nanny state’.
Labour’s Damien O’Connor called it “ridiculous overkill,” while Northland MP Winston Peters described MPI as “paternalistic bureaucrats” and told Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy to “show some steel for a change and roll back this regulatory nonsense”.