Animal food products that are served raw or undercooked present a significantly increased risk of causing a foodborne illness (i.e, “food poisoning”) because they have not been cooked to kill disease-causing germs. Food establishments that serve these types of foods must inform customers of this increased risk of illness by providing a consumer advisory on their menus.
A consumer advisory is a written statement that a food establishment provides:
- To inform consumers about the increased risk of foodborne illness when eating raw- or undercooked animal food products; and,
- To identify any items on the food establishment’s menu that contain raw- or undercooked animal food products.
A consumer advisory is only required if a food establishment offers menu items containing raw- or undercooked animal food products to consumers, including: Meat, eggs, poultry, seafood, and shellstock (e.g., oysters, clams, mussels, etc.). If all animal food products are cooked to required internal temperatures, then a food establishment does not need a consumer advisory.
The consumer advisory consists of two written parts: a reminder and a disclosure.
The goal of the reminder is to inform consumers of the increased risk of foodborne illness from eating raw- or undercooked animal food products. A written reminder statement maybe placed anywhere on the menu, or by other written means (e.g., placard or table tent). The goal of the disclosure is to identify the specific menu items that carry an increased risk of foodborne illness. Symbols or marks on the menu are used to disclose animal food products that are raw or undercooked.
The reminder requirement can be satisfied by the following statements, or any similar variation:
“Thoroughly cooking food of animal origin, including but not limited to beef, eggs, fish, lamb, milk, poultry, or shellstock reduces the risk of foodborne illness. Young children, the elderly, and individuals with certain health conditions may be at a higher risk if these foods are consumed raw or undercooked.”
“Written information regarding the safety of these items is available upon request.”
“Consuming raw- or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, shellstock, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.”
“Consuming raw- or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, shellstock, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially in case of certain medical conditions.”
The disclosure requirement is to make a clear identification of specific menu items containing raw- or undercooked animal food products and menu items that the consumer can choose to be served raw or undercooked. The most common way to disclose menu items is to place an asterisk (*) next to each menu item that contains raw- or undercooked animal food products. Also, an asterisk should be placed next to the reminder statement to link the menu items to the reminder statement. Make sure that the symbol is used only to mark raw- or undercooked foods and not as a reminder for other notices (e.g., messages regarding split checks or gratuity); Or, ensure that a unique symbol (e.g., +, ᵼ, ◊, ☼, etc.) is used so it is clear to which foods the disclosure applies.
The disclosure is only for animal food products that can be served raw or undercooked. Menu items that will always be heated to kill all disease-causing germs will not require a disclosure. For example, chicken that is only served fully cooked (to the required internal temperature) should not be noted under the consumer advisory.
Other menu items that do not need a disclosure include foods made with pasteurized egg products and foods treated using approved special processes (i.e., smoking or curing).
If a food establishment offers self-service of animal food products that are raw or undercooked (e.g., buffets, salad bars, sushi bars, or display cases), then the food establishment will need to do the following:
- Post a reminder statement that is clearly visible to consumers; and,
- Place the disclosure symbol next to the relevant menu items.
Menus without a consumer advisory may comply by doing one of the following:
- Reprint the menu to include both parts of the consumer advisory (i.e., the reminder and appropriate disclosures); or,
- Modify the existing menu to include a reminder statement and a disclosure symbol for every relevant menu item. The symbol must remain consistent throughout the menu.
Telephone: (702) 759-0588
Updated on: June 28, 2019