Why Restaurants Should Have a Consumer Advisory

Almost all full-service restaurants offer food that can be served undercooked: steak, eggs, tuna, sushi, oysters, etc. In fact, many customers prefer it. The FDA requires a consumer advisory to inform the customer of this risk.

Why a Consumer Advisory is Required for Restaurants | ResproFSP.com

In the FDA Food Code, there are 2 points to the consumer advisory:

  • Identifying the food items it pertains to with an asterisk
  • Health statement

The health statement should say something like this:

“Thoroughly cooking foods of animal origin such as beef, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, poultry, or shellfish reduces the risk of foodborne illness. Individuals with certain health conditions may be at high risk if these foods are consumed raw or undercooked.”

Not Having a Consumer Advisory Is Risky Business

Some inspectors state that the advisory is there to protect the restaurant. So, theoretically, if a customer orders food undercooked and gets sick, then the consumer advisory absolves the restaurant of liability. This is actually quite false. Even though there might be a consumer advisory, a restaurant still has a responsibility to serve safe food. If someone becomes ill from eating undercooked food that he/she ordered, the person still has a case that the restaurant didn’t handle or store the food properly, which led to the foodborne illness.

Even though it might not completely protect a restaurant from a lawsuit, it’s still important to have a consumer advisory because lacking one makes it easier for a restaurant to be sued. Note that there are also cases where restaurants are sued because the consumer advisory wasn’t noticeable enough or was absent.

So make sure your consumer advisory is noticeable, current, and asterisks are present on all food items that apply. An insufficient consumer advisory can definitely hurt a restaurant, as it did in this case:

Suit Alleges Man Died from Eating Contaminated Oysters at Floyd’s

If you need help writing a consumer advisory, here is a good resource:

Pierce County, Wisconsin, Consumer Advisory

If you liked this consumer advisory article, you should also read our article about providing allergy info:

Restaurants: Provide Allergy Info to Protect Customers and Your Business


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