What is a consumer advisory?

A consumer advisory is an important part of your HACCP plan, it's a written statement for your customers about the food safety-related risks when eating raw or undercooked food. Undercooked food carries an increased risk of foodborne illnesses, and the customers need to be informed of that. This statement is to protect the most highly susceptible customers who are especially vulnerable to foodborne diseases—for example, the elderly, pregnant women, toddlers, and people with compromised immune systems.

This doesn’t mean you cannot offer rare or medium doneness meat to your customers, but a customer advisory will help your customers to make informed dining decisions. This also helps to protect your food business if someone gets a foodborne disease after eating undercooked food at your restaurant. 

Most establishments put their consumer advisory on the menu, but it can be displayed in other ways too.

Undercooked food might be:

  1. Rare or medium-rare steak
  2. Uncooked types of sushi
  3. Raw eggs
  4. Unprocessed milk
  5. Undercooked chicken
  6. Undercooked seafood
  7. Undercooked pork
  8. Undercooked ground beef
  9. Undercooked lamb

In some states unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices also.


Who needs to have a customer advisory

If you serve any undercooked animal products at your food establishment, the FDA requires you to publish a written consumer advisory.


Consumer advisory examples

Here are some easy examples to keep in mind when composing a menu:

1. Inform the customer whether the food can be undercooked. Like „raw-egg salad“ or „raw salmon sushi“

2. Include a footnote to your menu:

  • „Regarding the safety of these items, written information is available upon request“
  • „Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.”
  • „Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions“


If you prefer a more detailed customer advisory, here are some examples:

  • "Eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood poses a health risk to all customers, but especially to the elderly, pregnant women, and other highly susceptible customers with compromised immune systems."
  • "There is a risk associated with consuming undercooked foods such as meat, poultry, or seafood products. If you have chronic illness of the liver or have immune disorders, you are at greater risk of illness from raw oysters and should eat oysters fully cooked. If unsure, consult your physician."

NB! These are only suggestions!


The consumer advisory should be presented on all brochures, menus, label statements, table tents, placards, or any other written forms, preferably on the page where the first undercooked item appears.

Customer advisory text must be readable and be in the same language used for the menu items.

Let's face it, the local authorities' visit can break your business, so be always ready for the food inspection. Correct customer advisory documentation is one of the first signs to authorities that you take food safety seriously and you care for your customers' health.

Check our HACCP plan template hub where you can find all the most common HACCP plan documents' samples.

Not sure where to start with your customer advisory documentation? Don't have enough time? FoodDocs platform can direct you through the process and get your food safety management documents done in no time so you can focus on what you really need to – managing your business.

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