1999 Food Code consumer advisory

Common questions about the 1999 Food Code and how it applies to caterers.

What is the purpose of the consumer advisory provision as required by section 3-603.11 of the 1999 Food Code?

The purpose of the consumer advisory is to inform consumers of the increased risks of foodborne illness associated with eating raw and undercooked foods of animal origin.

Raw animal foods may harbor harmful pathogens, and many outbreaks of foodborne illness have been linked to foods, which are either purposefully or accidentally undercooked.

Therefore, foods, which are intentionally served raw or undercooked, pose a higher risk of foodborne illness, and consumers should be informed about this.

Proper compliance with the consumer advisory provision requires that all foods containing ready-to-eat raw or undercooked animal foods be clearly identified. This disclosure must be coupled with a reminder of the increased risk of foodborne illness from consuming such foods.

How does the consumer advisory provision apply to caterers?

Caterers are not exempt from complying with the consumer advisory requirement as specified in FC 3-603.11.

In order to comply with this provision, the caterer must inform the sponsor of the event if any of the chosen menu items contain undercooked or raw animal foods.

In addition, the caterer must remind the sponsor of the increased risks of foodborne illness from consuming such foods and of the requirement that their guests also need to be informed. The disclosure and reminder must be in writing and must use the language set forth in the 1999 Food Code and FDA's Implementation Guideline.

It is the responsibility of the sponsor to inform the guests of any increased risks of foodborne illness from foods served.

If the sponsor requests that the caterer inform the guests, then the caterer must do so.

Table tents, placards, and posted menus are possible ways in which the advisory can be provided during the event.

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