Menus need warnings by January 1, 2016

by Olga Glazman

We recommend you update your menus before January 1, 2016 to include a written warning if your establishment serves raw or undercooked foods. Update all online menus as well. The written warning must appear on: menus, menu boards, brochures, signage, food labels, table tents, and/or placards.

A written consumer warning is required when serving raw or undercooked foods. Here's the language you need to include.

“Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.”

The warning must include (1) a description of the specific foods being served raw or undercooked or  (2) be tagged with an asterisk (*) or similar mark, and the same mark must be used to show the raw or undercooked ingredients on a menu or menu board.

This warning applies to foods such as:

Fish served raw or undercooked (sushi, sashimi, ceviche- includes raw fish such as shrimp, salmon, smoked salmon, tuna, smoked tuna, red snapper, sea urchin, etc)

Raw or undercooked molluscan shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels, scallop)

Raw or undercooked arthropods (lobster, crab, crayfish)

Raw sea snails (whelk, conch)

Note: The above must be from an approved source operating under FDA Seafood HACCP.

In addition to the above, any raw or undercooked eggs, including quail, chicken, and duck.

Eggs if they are not cooked to harden but are still liquid or runny (sunny-side up, scrambled, partly boiled, coddled, or omelets)

In-house dressing made with uncooked eggs (Caesar or Ranch dressing, mayonnaise)

In-house sauces made with uncooked eggs (Béarnaise, Hollandaise, Aioli, Choron)

Desserts made with raw eggs: tiramisu, mousse, meringue, eggnog, kogel mogel, uncooked pie fillings containing raw eggs, cold soufflé

Note: You do not have to give a warning if you choose to use pasteurized eggs. There is only one brand of eggs in the US that pasteurizes their eggs: Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs.

But wait, there's more!

Steak/steak dishes/beef/hamburger: (rare or medium rare- You also need to make sure that you are preparing the undercooked meat per customer order and serving it to the customer immediately since you may not hot-hold meat below 140 degrees F)

We recommend using an asterisk (*) to tag the item that is being served raw/undercooked. If you are using another symbol, make sure it is clear that it is a tag symbol. For example, if you use a dollar sign ($) or an exclamation point (!), that may mislead the consumer.

The warning must be legible and can appear at the bottom of the menu, linked to the menu item by the asterisk.