Food Event On Campus

Rules for food events on campus are subject to change. Please review all information below carefully.


In accordance with Erie County Department of Health guidelines, the University at Buffalo prohibits the sale and distribution to the public of any foods by any student association, faculty or staff unless the foods are prepared in a kitchen that holds a valid Erie County Department of Health permit. Preparation of food (including baked goods) in homes or dorms of individuals is not permitted. 

An Erie County Department of Health permit for Temporary Food Service will be required for all events that are open to the public.

All requests should be submitted at least 14 days in advance of the event date or it will be automatically disapproved. This will allow sufficient time for Environment, Health & Safety and the Erie County Department of Health to review and process a food permit for the event. 

All groups must have a copy of the approved food service application and permit at their event.

Food permits are not required: 

  1. If the food is prepared by Three Pillars Catering.
  2. For Informal gatherings (10 people or less): The gathering occurs naturally with little to no planning. No items have been purchased for this event.  Individuals consume their own food. Attendees did not receive a formal invitation (e.g. work group, study group, friends meet up at the library).
  3. For events that are serving commercially packaged snack items (e.g. granola bars, chips, etc.)
  4. For events that are serving traditional baked goods (e.g. donuts, cookies, cake).


In-Person Event Review and Approval Process

  • Priority for approval will be given to events that: 
    • Directly support higher learning. 
    • Directly benefit the institution. 
    • Directly relate to civic engagement. 

BUFFETS: Three Pillars Catering is recommended for events with food served buffet style. If an outside caterer will be used, an EH&S-issued food permit is required. For food served buffet style, self-service is permitted but EH&S recommends that the organizers consider having the food served by catering staff or event staff wearing gloves and hair restraints. 

POTLUCK MEALS: For public and private events, potluck meals are not permitted to be held on campus due to the risk of foodborne illness.

OFF-CAMPUS EVENTS: EH&S does not need to review or approve events held off campus.