Hilton Toronto Airport Serves Burger With Food Waiver

Hilton Toronto Airport Serves Burger With Food Waiver

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A burger at an airport hotel might not be the most appetizing meal to begin with. But you know what makes it even less appetizing? When the side it’s served with is… a release agreement.

Hilton Toronto Airport makes guest sign waiver for medium burger

A Reddit user shares quite an interesting experience that happened at the Hilton Toronto Airport. Here’s how the guest describes the experience:

I ordered my burger medium and the waiter took it with no question or comment. She brought it and it looked great! When I had my first bite she brought me a release form and said we always make our burgers well done but since you wanted it medium now you should sign this! I was flabbergasted. I read the release form and I think I can never have a burger. I tried to be nice so I paid and left but could not eat the burger. I am from the US so I do not know. Is it common in Canada? Like how can you sign a form like his and still eat it? Why the waiter did not say anything before hand? I still can not believe it!

Indeed, the picture shows a release agreement asking the guest to waive rights to any claims against the hotel for “any food-borne illnesses.”

Hilton burger with food waiver form

Are these kinds of food waivers common?

Substance of this waiver aside, it seems like the hotel handled this unprofessionally. You should warn the guest at the time that they order that they’ll have to sign a liability waiver. And if you’re not going to tell them when they order, you should at least have them sign the waiver before they start eating, rather than bringing it after they start eating.

Now, I’m also curious about the merits of this waiver. I’ve never seen something like this before, though I’m also not a big eater of red meat. One Reddit user writes the following:

I had it happen to me at the Fairmont Royal York. Ground and processed uncooked meat pose a higher risk of foodborne illness.

Another Reddit user points out how hotels will serve you steak tartare without signing a waiver, but will then require it for a burger cooked medium. Someone helpfully has the following response, which I think perhaps sheds light on this:

The difference is because it’s ground up meat. Most places won’t cook anything that has gone through a mechanical tenderization, or grinder less than well done. Some only will if it’s ground onsite that day.

When you have a steak, it’s only the outside of it that would have contaminates and since that’s exposed to the heat all of that gets killed. When you have something that was mechanically tenderized, or ground up, those contaminates can be pushed into the meat, where it may not get hot enough to kill that bacteria.

Canadas rules are way more strict than American rules when it comes to that. (Along with a lot of rules relating to food safety)

I understand the logic here, and how there’s a slight risk. However, is this waiver requirement at all common in Canada, or is this hotel just way overly cautious, or something?

Bottom line

Someone staying at the Hilton Toronto Airport ordered a medium burger, and was brought a food waiver after the meal was served, releasing the hotel from liability for any food-borne illnesses. I’d certainly be caught off guard if I were in that situation as well, and I’m curious how common this is.

What do you make of this Hilton’s burger waiver?

Conversations (69)
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  1. Gary Guest

    so you want to eat food that is NOT cooked enough to prevent food poisoning and what freaks you out is the form stating you assume the risk for your OWN risky behavior-actions have consequences and when you GRASP this concept you can call yourself an adult you man-child

  2. iamhere Guest

    Medium is not raw though. I have experienced such for rare burgers.

    1. Gary Guest

      med will still get you food poisoning

  3. RL MEKC Guest

    This 'waiver' seemed to have come into effect about 8-10 years ago as the first time my husband was presented one when he ordered a medium burger was back then. The diner we frequented never had an issue until they stopped grinding in house and bought pre-ground from a new supplier.

  4. GLCTraveler Gold

    F'ing Canadian Law!! How stupid is that..?

  5. Kevin L Guest

    USA restaurants started that nonsense in the 90's.
    First with eggs; then once that "scare" got old they started it with requests for rare beef.

    In the end, it all stopped once they realized customers either stopped ordering those items anymore -- or were no longer frequenting those restaurants!

    Funny how the routine disappeared once it became part of their financial equations!!

  6. Jin Guest

    JFC, just sign the damn form and move on with your day

    1. Kevin L Guest

      I lean more toward the idea of wiping myself with them.

  7. Ross Kennedy Guest

    Idiots, they will be feeding us next with pre prepared baby food.
    I am in the UK, is the culture of blaming anyone but yourself for your actions so acute no one will be allowed to do anything in case you sue them.
    The Alaskan 737 incident is a classic, virtually zero injuries but all are looking at a pay day to fund the rest of their lives.

  8. AD Diamond

    I was at lunch in Carlsbad, NM two weeks ago and someone at the table ordered a burger and was presented with a waiver BEFORE the burger showed up. They explained that someone tried to sue them when they got sick after eating a medium burger. My colleague chose to have his burger Well done. First time I've ever seen that.

  9. BigG Guest

    As per the article a burger ground on site day of cooking is allowed . Pre ground or frozen cannot be cooked less then well done . There’s a few places that do fresh meat and cook it to your liking . Shocked an airport Hilton would as the just back up the sisco truck and dump it in the deep fryer . Royal York Fairmont I can see.

  10. Ryan Guest

    I wouldn't eat a burger in Canada any more than I'd eat poutine in the United States.

  11. David Deuce Guest

    I had an office in Toronto for years. Most restaurants will only serve burgers well done. The fact you had a choice, I think, is a plus. I'd have signed it and enjoyed.

  12. Jim Guest

    I ordered one medium at Toronto Pearson and they refused to serve it. An absolutely asinine regulation! Who wants charcoal on a bun?

  13. Charles Chan Massey Guest

    We live half-time in BC (we have dual US/Canadian legal residency) and it’s common across the country for burgers to be cooked ONLY well done. I’ve never heard of a waiver before. It’s just always been a flat “no” if asked for it any other way.

  14. docntx Guest

    "I'm from the Government, I am here to help." Gotta love our litigious, overregulated society.

  15. D3kingg Guest

    Canada is kinda weird but corporate sop at chili’s , Applebees , etc is that burgers and steaks will be cooked medium well to well done “is that ok ?”

  16. Know when to order well done Guest

    Unless you know a restaurant is legit, you should assume it's basically McDonald's in the back (in terms of food source and quality). And if you're willing to eat medium cooked meat from mickey d's, good luck to you. Lol

  17. Jacques Portgieter Guest

    That's a cool story - I laughed out loud at the end of it really hard and my dog woke up. In South Africa we have a name for the way we bbq - it's called a 'braai' lol. Sometimes we have a rule that we shouldn't take meat off before it squeals from the heat that's being projected into it. I don't like that because it seems a bit disrespectful but when you're at...

    That's a cool story - I laughed out loud at the end of it really hard and my dog woke up. In South Africa we have a name for the way we bbq - it's called a 'braai' lol. Sometimes we have a rule that we shouldn't take meat off before it squeals from the heat that's being projected into it. I don't like that because it seems a bit disrespectful but when you're at a braai it depends on the rules of the host and there are many rules you have to pay attention to. So maybe it's a bit like this, in so far as it's the rules of the country and you have to sign a piece of paper because it's their braai. Thank you again for sharing this I enjoy your writing and it was a meaningful experience to see this is happening in Canada. av geek hehe

    1. upstarter Guest

      WTF are you on about??

    2. Beef or cow? Guest

      He’s a South African man, honey. Just nod politely and back out of the room slowly…

  18. upstater Guest

    Some Wegmans markets have food courts which include a burger bar. You can order a burger rare... but the meat has been irradiated.

    We buy local meats from the Amish or small farms which is processed locally. It never contains "pink slime" or comes from 400 different cows as factory farm, antibiotic/hormone laced feedlot meat processed a huge slaughter houses in flyover country. Drive by a feedlot and you'll think twice about beef.

    1. UncleRonnie Guest

      You’re not likely to get a grass-fed, organic burger in an airport hotel bar.

    2. Jacques Portgieter Guest

      haha have you been to south africa? lol haha

  19. Canastalemmings Guest

    A Food Waiver: A person who holds food in the air and waves it around.

    1. Jacques Portgieter Guest

      haha. So true

  20. George Romey Guest

    Well just look at who's running Canada.

    1. Aztec Guest

      Sigh...the pertinent regulations governing this are set by municipal and provincial authorities, not federal ones. I don't like Trudeau either but blaming him for EVERYTHING is ignorant.

    2. Gabe Z Guest

      This is actually a federal guideline published by Health Canada. It well predates Trudeau however.

    3. Aztec Guest

      Correct, and George needs to understand that these guidelines are only recommendations. It is up to the provinces and municipalities to enact legislation to enforce them.

  21. Eskimo Guest

    All I see is Proposition 65.

  22. JoePro Guest

    Did an afternoon tea at the Park Hyatt Canberra this past year. They had us sign a waiver for taking the leftovers.

  23. Chris Guest

    I've seen similar waivers in Canada for a long time. Not very often but they keep popping up.

  24. Ralph4878 Guest

    When I moved to Toronto for a short time, I was dismayed by the, "We cannot make it medium-rare, sir - it's the law." responses I got to my burger orders. Once I learned why the law was in place, I still had my frustrations. Then I came back to the States for a holiday to visit my parents, went out for a casual dinner at very reputable local restaurant and ordered my first post-TO...

    When I moved to Toronto for a short time, I was dismayed by the, "We cannot make it medium-rare, sir - it's the law." responses I got to my burger orders. Once I learned why the law was in place, I still had my frustrations. Then I came back to the States for a holiday to visit my parents, went out for a casual dinner at very reputable local restaurant and ordered my first post-TO burger...and spent the rest of the night and next day sh*****g my brains out - it was worse than my bouts with Bangkok belly when I lived in Thailand. No more frustrations about the law after that; from that point on, whenever I craved beef, I skipped the burger and ordered a steak medium-rare.

    1. Jacques Portgieter Guest

      Is your actual name... Ralph?

    2. Ralph4878 Guest

      No, Jacques, it is not. My parents loved me ;).

  25. Alan Guest

    I've not seen a waiver before, but the risk isn't related to the types of meat but due to it being ground up. The part as risk of contamination is the outside, even with rare steak this but will be cooked. With a burger the outside has been churned to the inside, hence the food hygiene risk.

    To quote UK guidance - "When meat is minced and burgers are formed, harmful bacteria which are normally...

    I've not seen a waiver before, but the risk isn't related to the types of meat but due to it being ground up. The part as risk of contamination is the outside, even with rare steak this but will be cooked. With a burger the outside has been churned to the inside, hence the food hygiene risk.

    To quote UK guidance - "When meat is minced and burgers are formed, harmful bacteria which are normally on the outside of a joint of meat can be spread throughout the burgers. If burgers are not thoroughly cooked there is a risk that harmful bacteria may survive and cause food poisoning."

    https://www.food.gov.uk/node/16746

    1. No one. Everyone. Guest

      This information was already in the article Ben wrote.

  26. Chris Guest

    This is madness.

    A good burger should not lead to potential hospital care, disability or death. Waivers should be unenforceable.

    Silly restaurant management.

    1. Ralph4878 Guest

      Unless the meat is ground in-house, YRMV...

    2. D3kingg Guest

      Someone can hold a corporation liable if they get sick. Order a medium burger next time you go to McDonald’s. Lol

  27. Klaus_S New Member

    Surprised you never had „Mett“ when visiting your relatives in Germany. And no, we do not have to sign any waivers.

    (Mett is a preparation of minced raw pork seasoned with salt and black pepper that is popular in Germany. It is frequently spread on halves of a bread roll, with raw onion optionally on top.)

    1. Lukas Guest

      Ben doesn't eat pork.

  28. Robert Fahr Guest

    I would have signed the waiver and ate the burger.

    1. Onemiler Guest

      Yeah. That he left the burger because he had to sign a waiver made no sense to me. Whenever you order a burger in Oregon it has a small print that says "eating raw or undercooked meat can cause food borne illnsess" a waiver is just basically acknowledgement that you read that. Not a big deal. I mean they did order the Burger medium.

  29. Jean-F B. Guest

    The waiver itself is not common in Canada... but so is getting a burger prepared to less than medium. Although it is more common in the US to be asked for "burger doneness", this is not as often asked in Canada and always assumed to be well done. (Steaks are different) US menus most often have a disclaimer about food doneness such as "CONSUMING RAW OR UNDERCOOKED MEATS, POULTRY, SEAFOOD, SHELLFISH, OR EGGS WHICH MAY...

    The waiver itself is not common in Canada... but so is getting a burger prepared to less than medium. Although it is more common in the US to be asked for "burger doneness", this is not as often asked in Canada and always assumed to be well done. (Steaks are different) US menus most often have a disclaimer about food doneness such as "CONSUMING RAW OR UNDERCOOKED MEATS, POULTRY, SEAFOOD, SHELLFISH, OR EGGS WHICH MAY CONTAIN HARMFUL BACTERIA MAY INCREASE YOUR RISK OF FOODBORNE ILLNESS OR DEATH, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE CERTAIN MEDICAL CONDITIONS"... Canadian menus are not as explicit in that matter... maybe mentioning that "steaks and burgers are done to order", but not necessarily mentioning risk of such.

    There has been a few cases of well publicized ground beef related e.coli outbreaks in Canada over the years - including a very recent one in Calgary affecting school kids, where we are constantly reminded of recommended cooking temperatures/doneness for specific meat cuts and most people will tend to send a burger back if they see any trace of pink....

    1. Canuck70 Guest

      Agree with this. I've lived in Canada for 25 years and have never been asked to sign a waiver like this. That said, I have also never been asked how I want my burger cooked. It's a question that's often asked in the US but not here, your burger just comes out fully cooked with no pink.

      If restaurants in Canada are going to allow for less than well-done burgers, I think they should...

      Agree with this. I've lived in Canada for 25 years and have never been asked to sign a waiver like this. That said, I have also never been asked how I want my burger cooked. It's a question that's often asked in the US but not here, your burger just comes out fully cooked with no pink.

      If restaurants in Canada are going to allow for less than well-done burgers, I think they should put a disclaimer on the menu like they do in US restaurants. Having patrons sign a waiver is ridiculous.

  30. Frances Price Gold

    I’ve never been given a waiver, I’ve just been told - at multiple places - they won’t cook a burger less than well done because it’s ground up and could have other contaminants introduced in the process. So I don’t order burgers in Canada.

  31. Jens Laursen-Schmidt Guest

    Just refuse to sign it.

  32. Gabe Z Guest

    Hamburgers must be served well done according to Canadian federal food safety law. As a long time dual national and burger fan, I rarely eat a non-fast food style burger (eg pub style) in my homeland anymore because it’s gross.

    The waiver isn’t allowed as a workaround. The restaurant broke the law.

  33. UncleRonnie Guest

    I’d sign that! I hate well-done burgers and it’s tough to find a rare one these days you don’t cook yourself.

  34. John Guest

    I would refuse to sign if it was brought back after the fact. Likewise so many factors can lead to food-borne illness, I don’t see how this could be legally binding.

  35. Capo Guest

    These days the highest chance to get foodborne illnesses in a burger comes from the lettuce not the beef.

    1. Chris_ Gold

      In the United States that's true, largely because of the jurisdictional differences between the FDA (lettuce) and USDA (meat).

    2. Gabe Z Guest

      The majority of lettuce in Canada comes from the US.

  36. digital_notmad Diamond

    The "guest's use of its own food" phrase almost reads as if the "its" refers to "guest's" and not to Hilton Toronto Airport, and that this waiver is therefore saying that if the customer brings their own food (e.g., as I've done before with hot sauce/spices), then the customer can't complain when they get sick because they can't prove it was the prepared meal and not their own addition to it. The waiver language also...

    The "guest's use of its own food" phrase almost reads as if the "its" refers to "guest's" and not to Hilton Toronto Airport, and that this waiver is therefore saying that if the customer brings their own food (e.g., as I've done before with hot sauce/spices), then the customer can't complain when they get sick because they can't prove it was the prepared meal and not their own addition to it. The waiver language also appears to go on to say something about "consumption of products not provided by Hilton Toronto Airport," so that would be consistent with the above interpretation.

    Still a weird and disconcerting practice, though.

    1. Lukas Diamond

      Great point. That's what the waiver is for and the waitress/staff/management is confused.

    2. Jon Guest

      That was my first thought too - this says nothing on this page about waiving any rights you have related to this meal. Either they gave you the wrong form or ??

  37. Pete Diamond

    The waiver is a bit overkill but many menus even here in the US have disclaimers that for certain items containing raw ingredients there carries a higher risk of foodborne illnesses.

  38. Ben Guest

    I’m Canadian and have never seen a food waiver, but it’s fairly uncommon to have a hamburger that is not well done. The only exception is at nicer restaurants that grind the meat in-house and may recommend it be cooked medium.

    However you do see beef tartare on menus regularly, but they don’t come with a side of liability waiver.

    1. CP@YOW Guest

      I agree. It just isn't a question in Canada and I always find it weird in the US when they ask how I want a burger cooked (and in fact I have learned from experience that I need to specify well done if they don't ask). But asking for a waiver to be signed seems like overkill.

      Steak tartare is not the same as the ground beef used for hamburgers. Steak tartare is (or should...

      I agree. It just isn't a question in Canada and I always find it weird in the US when they ask how I want a burger cooked (and in fact I have learned from experience that I need to specify well done if they don't ask). But asking for a waiver to be signed seems like overkill.

      Steak tartare is not the same as the ground beef used for hamburgers. Steak tartare is (or should be) hand-chopped fresh in the kitchen. Ground beef is usually bought as such (unless it's a fancy place) and thus has much more risk because it isn't intended to be eaten uncooked.

    2. Alan Guest

      Totally agree. Minced beef is totally different to fresh steak and should be cooked accordingly.

  39. Never In Doubt Guest

    Oh, Canada.

  40. James K. Guest

    Steak tartare is made of ground beef, not "steak" - the distinction the Redditer is making is irrelevant

    1. Lukas Diamond

      That's what I noticed right away too. I had to re-read that comment two times to make sure I wasn't missing anything.

    2. Tom Guest

      Good and proper steak tartare is not made of ground beef, but is indeed cut into small cubes of meat by the chef prior to serving from a good cut of steak, e.g. tenderloin

    3. shza Gold

      I don't know where you're eating steak tartare. Every recipe I've ever seen calls for very finely hand-minced beef tenderloin/filet mignon.

  41. John Guest

    Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The burger patty is just one of several ingredients in a burger. The bun or the lettuce could be a source of food poisoning as well.
    I would have declined the request for a signature and continued with my meal.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Gabe Z Guest

Hamburgers must be served well done according to Canadian federal food safety law. As a long time dual national and burger fan, I rarely eat a non-fast food style burger (eg pub style) in my homeland anymore because it’s gross. The waiver isn’t allowed as a workaround. The restaurant broke the law.

5
George Romey Guest

Well just look at who's running Canada.

4
Tom Guest

Good and proper steak tartare is not made of ground beef, but is indeed cut into small cubes of meat by the chef prior to serving from a good cut of steak, e.g. tenderloin

2
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