Food Serving

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All campus events where food is served or sold must have an approved Food Service Permit.

Serving Food on Campus

In accordance with Erie County Department of Heath 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 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.

  • Barbeques (food that is grilled on site at the event) are allowed. 
  • The only exceptions are manufactured prepackaged items such as bottled drinks, individual bags of chips and candy.
  • Foods with cream, cheese, custard or meat fillings are not allowed.
  • Homemade food, reheated food or food that needs to be prepared, cooked (e.g. frozen pizza, ramen cup noodles, grilled cheese) are not allowed to be served to the public. A licensed caterer or vendor must be used.

UB has adopted Erie County Department of Health’s guidelines for temporary food stands to ensure that basic food sanitation requirements and practices are incorporated into temporary food service locations on campus whether the food is open to the public or limited to the student association or department.

Your event location must be reserved with Student Life before completing an Food Service Application. Food Service Applications must be submitted fifteen (15) days prior to the event date whether it is open to the public or limited to the department or student association.   

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

Food Safety Rules

For each food serving function, it is necessary to adhere to basic health rules for safe service. These basic rules for food preparation and service are designed to prevent the growth of organisms which cause severe vomiting and diarrhea. Food-borne outbreaks are a constant concern. Each person harbors the causative agents and can easily be the source of illness if precautions are not observed.

  • All temporary food service stands must have a valid UB Food Permit and in some cases a valid Erie County Health Permit to operate.
  • The use of "home canned" or home-prepared food is absolutely prohibited.
  • If continuous heat is not provided the extent of the service period may not exceed two hours. Portions of food left at the end of two hours must be discarded. If the temperature has been maintained at 145 degrees F throughout the service period, remaining portions may be placed in refrigeration and used at the suppliers discretion. Foods prepared in homes for pot luck suppers on campus should have preparation times scheduled so that the product may be taken from an oven or range at the end of the cooking period and brought directly to the serving table. Hot foods must be kept “hot” from the time of preparation until service. Examples:
    • Cook poultry until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
    • Cook pork until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F.
    • Cook eggs until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
    • Cook ground meat until internal temperature reaches 158 degrees F.
    • Cook all other foods to 140 degrees F or higher.
    • Hot foods must be maintained at 140 degrees F or above.
    • All cooked foods that are cooled must be reheated to 165 degrees F, if served hot.
  • Care must be observed in food storage - adequate refrigeration is important. Cold foods must be served cold and maintained at or below 45 degrees F, at all times. The holding period and disposal requirements are the same as in #3 above. Ingredients for cold salads or other foods should be refrigerated prior to blending. With this technique there is no question of refrigerating the inner portion of the mass.
  • Provide a metal stem thermometer (0 degrees - 220 degrees F) to measure the temperature of foods, both cold and hot.
  • Keep time between preparation and serving as short as possible.
  • The menu should be limited to avoid leftovers. Hazardous food items requiring extensive preparation must be prepared in a permitted food service establishment.
  • Ready-to-eat food must not be handled during preparation and service. Use plastic gloves, a ladle, tongs or deli-wrap. KEEP HANDS CLEAN.
  • HAND WASHING FACILITIES must be provided at each food stand:
  • Facilities will consist of soap, paper towels and a container equipped with a tap or spigot to produce a stream of water.
  • Waste water must be collected in a receptacle and disposed of in a sanitary manner. (Hand washing signs must be posted).
  • Convenient and adequate toilet facilities must be available.
  • All food handlers must be free from illness, boils, sores and cuts, and use hygienic food preparation practices. NO SMOKING IN FOOD STANDS.
  • All single service products and food items; including ice, must be stored a minimum of 6" above the ground or floor surface.
  • Food handlers must wear clean clothing. Hats and/or hair restraints are required.
  • Condiments for self-service must be provided in approved-closed dispensers or single service packages.
  • CLEAN AND SANITIZE ALL FOOD CONTACT SURFACES AND EQUIPMENT before, during and after use. Wiping cloths must be kept clean and stored in a container of sanitizing solution.
  • Food and eating utensils must be protected from customers. Easily cleanable counter protector devices (covers) are required to protect food when placed on display.
  • Single service disposable plates & flatware are required for service to the public. All beverages that are dispensed must be in single service cups.
  • For the washing of utensils, pots and pans; the minimum requirement is a two compartment sink or two containers - one with detergent-sanitizer and one with sanitizer.
  • Wet storage of packaged food and beverages is prohibited. Canned beverages may be stored in containers of chopped ice with the drain open.
  • Only chipped, crushed or cubed ice, obtained in bags from approved sources, can be used in the manufacturer of foods or be permitted to come in actual contact with food.
  • Cleaning compounds, sanitizers and toxic items must be properly labeled and stored away from food.
  • Keep foods covered to protect them from insects. Place garbage and paper wastes in a refuse container with a tight-fitting cover. Dispose of waste water in a sewer or public toilet. Waste cooking grease must be disposed of in an approved receptacle.
  • Design your booth with food safety in mind.
  • All booths must have an overhead covering. The ideal booth will be entirely enclosed except for the serving windows and have only one door or flap entry. Clear plastic or light colored screening on side walls will aid visibility.
    • Only food workers are permitted inside the food preparation area.
    • All animals must be excluded from booths.
  • The public must be protected from hot grills, gas cylinders and other dangerous items. A fire extinguisher is required at each stand.
  • Baked goods should be served as individual portions wrapped or bagged. Frosted cakes which may be difficult to wrap may be served as pieces. Pans must be provided with protective covering. Any baked product which contains a custard or custard-type filling must be treated as a cold food.

    Food Safety guidelines from: Erie County Health Department, Environmental Health Services, Food Service Protection Program, “Guidelines for Temporary Food Stands”

Food Permit Table

Guidance to help you to determine what kind of permit(s) are required for your event.

Food Permit Guidance
Type of Event EHS Food Service Application Required

Erie County Permit Required

(EHS will complete the paperwork)

CAMPUS FOOD - Food bought from campus vendors:

 

Private: Members only:

  • Invited guests known to the Department or Student Association or Organization)
  • The event cannot have been advertised as being open to the general public and/or campus community.
  • A previously printed list of invited guests must be used to identify attendees at the entrance to assure that only invited participants enter.
No No
Public: Open to the campus community and/or general public Yes No

BAKE SALES (e.g. cookies, cakes, breads, biscuits, muffins, churros, pastries, brownies, fruit pies, cakes, granola, pizelles).

Foods with cream, cheese, custard or meat fillings are not allowed:

 

Private:  Members Only:

  • Invited guests known to the Department or Student Association or Organization)
  • The event cannot have been advertised as being open to the general public and/or campus community.
  • A previously printed list of invited guests must be used to identify attendees at the entrance to assure that only invited participants enter
Yes No
Public: Open to the campus community and/or general public Yes No

EXTERNAL FOOD PROVIDER (e.g. Restaurant, caterer, food truck):

 

Private: Members only:

  • Invited guests known to the Department or Student Association or Organization)
  • The event cannot have been advertised as being open to the general public and/or campus community.
  • A previously printed list of invited guests must be used to identify attendees at the entrance to assure that only invited participants enter.
Yes No
Public: Open to the campus community or general public Yes Yes

SUPERMARKET PREPARED - Cooked food that is "ready to eat" from transport to serving (not frozen, raw or needs to be prepared or cooked):

 

Private: Members Only:

  • Invited guests known to the Department or Student Association or Organization)
  • The event cannot have been advertised as being open to the general public and/or campus community.
  • A previously printed list of invited guests must be used to identify attendees at the entrance to assure that only invited participants enter.
Yes No
Public: Open to the campus community or general public Yes Yes

SUPERMARKET NOT PREPARED - Food that is not ready to eat (e.g. frozen, raw food that needs to be prepared or cooked) from transport to serving:

 

Private: Members Only:

  • Invited guests known to the Department or Student Association or Organization)
  • The event cannot have been advertised as being open to the general public and/or campus community.
  • A previously printed list of invited guests must be used to identify attendees at the entrance to assure that only invited participants enter.
Yes No
Public: Open to the campus community or general public Home-made food, re-heated food or food that needs to be prepared, cooked (e.g. frozen pizza, ramen cup noodles) are not allowed to be served to the public. A licensed caterer or vendor must be used.

Barbeque's (BBQ) – Food that is grilled on-site at the event

 

Private: Members only:

  • Invited guests known to the Department or Student Association or Organization)
  • The event cannot have been advertised as being open to the general public and/or campus community.
  • A previously printed list of invited guests must be used to identify attendees at the entrance to assure that only invited participants enter.
Yes No
Public: Open to the campus community or general public Yes Yes
  Home-made food, re-heated food or food that is not cooked on the grill are not allowed to be served to the public. Already prepared or cooked food from a licensed caterer or supermarket must be used.

Contact an Expert

EHS avatar.

Environment Health & Safety

Service Building, 220 Winspear Ave.

Phone: 716-829-3301

Email: FoodPermit@facilities.buffalo.edu

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