Planning & Sanitation
Policy for Serving Food or
Refreshments on University Property in
Association With Meetings, Social
Gatherings, and Special Events
University facilities are intended to
be used by student or staff
organizations, departments, and other
University-associated groups for
meetings, conferences, fund raising, and
special events. University
facilities are also available to
individuals, groups, and/or
organizations outside the "University
community" on a rental basis. The
serving of food is an important part of
many events, and is often key to fund
raising. The serving of food is
acceptable when conducted by approved
methods. There are also instances
when desired food(s) and/or refreshments
are of a type that is not available in
the commercial market, or there are
other special circumstances.
This policy is developed for purpose of
meeting the charge of the Regents of
University of Minnesota in providing a
safe and healthful environment which
includes the prevention of foodborne
For the protection of students, staff,
and the public attending a meeting,
conference, special event, etc., on
University of Minnesota property, food
shall be prepared in, and/or provided by
the University of Minnesota Food Service
or a licensed commercial food service
and have the approval of the University
environmental hygiene officer or
designated person at least five business
days before the event.
Any exception to the above shall be
discussed with and approved by the
University environmental hygiene
officer, a minimum of ten business days
before the scheduled event.
See below for more detailed
information, or contact the University
environmental hygiene officer :
Environmental Health Specialist
Food Policy Appendix
This appendix provides additional
information, background, and answers to
the most commonly asked questions
related to the serving of food on
What is an approved commercial
source of food?
An approved commercial source of food
can be any restaurant, caterer, retail
food store, deli, etc., that is licensed
by the health authority in the community
where the commercial business is
What is a caterer?
A caterer must have a license from the
health authority allowing the business
to prepare food, and have approved
equipment for transportation, set-up,
and serving of food at any location. A
caterer also returns all food service
equipment and potentially hazardous
leftovers to its licensed facility.
What is carryout food?
Carryout foods can be obtained from any
licensed food facility where the food is
packaged or pre-packaged for the
Examples of pre-packed carryout foods
obtained from a retail store include:
chips, donuts, pretzels, cookies,
crackers, canned or bottled soda, etc.
These are foods that do not require hot
or cold holding. Examples of carryout
fast food are: pizza, burgers, box
lunches, etc. These are foods that can
be potentially hazardous but are
generally eaten directly after receiving
and leftovers are discarded.
Is special equipment ever needed?
Potentially hazardous foods served at
banquets, formal meals or potlucks
require serving utensils and food
service equipment that maintains hot
foods at or above 140°F until served
and cold foods at or below 41°F
until served. The University does not
provide equipment, therefore, it is the
responsibility of the individuals
renting space to provide the required
food service equipment. The University
may require proof that the individuals
have the required equipment before
rental arrangements are finalized. The
University may terminate the serving of
food during the event if proper
equipment or serving practices are not
What is a public event?
Any individual, group, or organization
from outside the University community
and using University facilities will be
considered a public event, and therefore
must have food provided by an approved
commercial food service.
Any individuals, group or organization
that advertises and/or invites the
general public by any means must have
food provided by an approved commercial
food service. Some examples are: food
sales and/or sample booths, campus-wide
events, theater and art events, and
Some organizations use bake sales as a
means of fund raising. EHSO will approve
permits for bake sales and has a set of
guidelines which must be followed.
Under no circumstances will home
prepared food be served at a public
What is a non-public event?
As a public institution, all events at
the University are generally considered
public. However, the nature and number
of participants from the University
community may make the event private.
Some examples are: board meetings,
organizational officers meetings,
department meetings, clubs of less than
twenty-five participating members.
Can food be prepared in a community
By special approval from the Department
of Environmental Health and Safety, food
may be prepared in an approved community
kitchen such as a church or school.
Equipment must be provided for the safe
transportation and serving of the
food. Approval must be obtained at
least ten business days before the
Are there exceptions?
Provisions have been made for small
groups to have potluck meals.
Conditions that apply are: 1) The
food shall be restricted to the
group. 2) There shall be no
advertising of the event. 3) There
shall be no invitations to individuals
outside the group, such as a potluck to
attract new members.
University departments that are holding
department social gathering within a
building room, such as holiday
gatherings, pre- or post academic year
department gathering, etc., are not
covered by this policy.
University departments that are holding
department social gatherings on
University property that requires a
"Land use Permit" are covered by this
When carryout fast food(s) are served
to less than twenty-five participants in
one of the student cafeterias, EHSO
approval is not required. Examples
of this type of food include: pizza,
subs, burgers, fries, chicken wings.
Are there any special requirements
for serving food to the public?
DEHS has a list of requirements, which
special events must comply with. The
requirements are based on food service
codes that are used by state and local
health departments in Minnesota. DEHS is
the official health department for the
University of Minnesota. If individuals
or groups wish to have an outdoor event
there are specific requirements, which
vary depending on the type of food that
is served. The requirements are simple,
but in accordance with health codes.
These events require the individuals or
groups to meet with and discuss the
requirements with the University's
environmental hygiene officer. Approval
must be obtained at least ten business
days before the event.
Are snack foods covered under this
Snack foods or light refreshments that
are pre-packaged, such as chips,
pretzels, cookies, canned or bottled
soft drinks, and commercial donuts, and
are purchased from a retail market can
be served at meetings without EHSO
approval. It may require building
approval, as related to room sanitation.
Pre-packed foods that are sold for fund
raising must have UMD-EHSO approval.
Where can food be served?
In general, when food is served at an
outside event, it is located to meet the
needs of a large number of people. This
could be large open areas by
buildings, or other approved open
areas. In the interior of buildings, all
food must be served in designated rooms
that have been reserved by the group
holding the event. There are two
exceptions to this requirement: approved
fund raising bake sales and coffee/donut
lines at conferences may be located in
building corridors, provided that they
do not block and/or restrict the normal
fire lanes or means of egress.
What is a potentially hazardous
Includes a food of animal origin that
is raw or heat-treated; a food of plant
origin that is heat-treated or consists
of raw seed sprouts; cut melons; and
garlic and oil mixtures.
For additional information, contact
EHSO at email@example.com.