Tony Slayford, of the Kingswood Arms, Surrey, told the Publican's Morning Advertiser (PMA) he had maintained a five-star Food Hygiene Rating for the past five years and had invited inspectors voluntarily to maintain his rating.
He said: "We've always had a good rapport with the environmental health inspectors. We've always been a five [star rating]. They told me medium-rare burgers were against their policies.
"I told them I wouldn't do it in future. Instead of just telling us not to do it again [the inspector] slashed us from five to one. Why not just say to me that it needed to stop? It devastated me."
He said he had arranged for a another inspection, which would be carried out between 13 May and 13 August, adding that he was worried the rating would affect his business.
Five to one
"To go from five to one is just unbelievable. I'm devastated but we've been here for 30 years so we will pick ourselves up and carry on."
He added that had already received messages of support from the local community.
Katie Jackson, environmental health manager at Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, told the PMA: “The lowering of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme score from 5 to 1 at the Kingswood Arms was not solely based on the issue of serving rare burgers.”
The rating was based on a number of deficiencies of which Slayford was aware and the council had provided detailed advice on how to rectify the issues in question, she added.
“We are not aware of any legal action against us about this nor has Mr Slayford applied for a rescore to date.”
The Food Standards Agency last year introduced new controls for businesses that served rare burgers, which included strict temperature controls, approved cooking and prep procedures and notifying the local authority that rare burgers would be served onsite.
A poll of PMA readers revealed that 71% of respondents thought serving rare burgers were not worth the food safety hassle.
Dr Lisa Ackerley, food safety adviser to the British Hospitality Association (BHA), previously spoke out on the issue, saying it was not necessarily the case that serving rare burgers was unsafe.