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Food Code Rules in Brief: Consumer Advisory

The new food code that takes effect Jan. 1 will require retail food establishments that serve or sell raw or undercooked animal food will need to use a consumer advisory. Minnesota food code specifies how to inform consumers of potential health risks from eating raw or undercooked animal food:  

Consumers are empowered to make an informed choice

Because the consumer advisory raises awareness of the increased risk of foodborne illness after eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs, consumers are empowered to make an informed choice about the food that they eat.

Consumer advisory includes both disclosure and reminder

Retail food establishments serving raw or undercooked meat, fish, dairy, and eggs need to notify consumers about the significantly increased risk of foodborne illness using both a disclosure and a reminder.

A disclosure clearly identifies the raw or undercooked animal food or item that contains a raw or undercooked ingredient. The disclosure can be a description or identification by asterisking to footnote.

A reminder states that eating raw or undercooked food is associated with increased risk of foodborne illness. Footnote wordage is specific, one of three ways.

See the Consumer Advisory Examples at the end of this article.

Consumer advisory must be written

Both disclosure and reminder must be in writing. Options include: brochures, deli case or menu advisories, label statements, table tents, placards or other effective means.

Learn how to meet consumer advisory requirements

If your menu includes steak tartare, hamburgers or eggs cooked to order, sushi, cold smoked fish, shellfish or other raw or undercooked animal foods, you may want to learn more about how to meet the requirements.

Contact your inspector to ensure you are using an appropriate consumer advisory – the Local Book has contact information for all MDH and local agency inspectors.

Watch the Food Safety Partnership recording – Consumer Advisory starts at the 54-minute mark.

Read the code – search the PDF of the rule language for “consumer advisory” to find the various parts that apply.

Consumer advisory examples

Consumer advisory example 1

In example 1, the descriptions "raw" and "cooked to order" are the disclosure; the footnote is the reminder.

 

Consumer advisory example 2

In example 2, the asterisk by each raw or undercooked menu item directs the consumer to the footnote containing both the disclosure and the reminder. 

Consumer advisory example 3

In example 3, one menu item uses a description as the disclosure ("Ceviche (raw fish)"). The asterisk by each raw or undercooked menu item directs the consumer to the footnote containing the disclosure for items not described above and the reminder for all items.

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