Food Service and Sales

Recommended By
Administration and Finance
Judy K. Sakaki, President
Issue Date
Thursday, September 5, 1985
Current Issue Date
Friday, December 21, 2007
Effective Date
Monday, July 31, 2017
Contact Office
Environmental Health and Safety
Policy number


I. Purpose 
The University recognizes the important and meaningful role that food plays in supporting relationships among campus departments, student organizations and our local community.  The Food Service and Sales policy has been created to reflect this vision while ensuring the safety of all campus constituents, their guests and the public at large by ensuring that foods offered meet all State, Local and University requirements for safe preparation and handling.  This policy was developed with input from campus stakeholders including students, faculty and staff and aligns with the goals and values of the University community. This policy does not supersede CalCode. 

II. Policy Definitions 
The following definitions are excerpts from the California Health and Safety Code otherwise known as CalCode where cited. Excerpts cited in this policy and the complete code is available online via the California Department of Public Health website.​
A. Food

  1. Food is any raw or processed edible substance, ice, beverage, or ingredients used or intended to be used for use or for sale in whole or in part for human consumption, and chewing gum (CalCode Section 113781).

B. Low Hazard Foods

  1. Low Hazard Foods include items that:
    a. Are shelf-stable and do not require temperature control.
    b. Are designed to be dispensed in their original sealed container, or are fruits sold in the whole and are uncut and washed before serving.
  2. Examples of Low Hazard foods include, but are not limited to: snack foods or light refreshments such as individually wrapped chips, pretzels, cookies, crackers, donuts, candy, soft drinks, etc.
  3. For a complete list of Low Hazard Foods, contact Sonoma State University’s office of Environmental Health and Safety. 

C. Potentially Hazardous Foods 

  1. Potentially Hazardous Foods must come from an approved source and are items that: 
    a. Must be stored and displayed at either 41°F or below or 135°F or above. 
    b. Are perishable in such that the food or ingredient, natural or synthetic, is in a form capable of supporting the growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms, including botulism. 
  2. Potentially Hazardous Foods include, but are not limited to:
    a. Foods of animal origin that are raw or heat-treated, or foods of plant origin that are heat-treated or consist of raw seed sprouts; cut melons; and garlic and oil mixtures.
    b. Cookies, cakes and pastries containing a cream cheese-, milk-, or egg-based filling or other substantially milk-, cream- or egg-based fillings. 
  3. Examples of Potentially Hazardous Foods include, but are not limited to: deli trays, cheese or meat sandwiches, custards, raw or cooked hamburger and hot dogs, barbecue pork and chicken, macaroni salad, ice cream, salads, seafood, shellfish, etc. 
  4. For a complete list of Potentially Hazardous Foods, contact Sonoma State University’s office of Environmental Health and Safety.

D. Approved Source

  1. An Approved Source refers to foods procured from permitted establishments (CalCode Section 113735).  Foods prepared in home or otherwise unpermitted kitchens may not be served to the public.

E. Food Facility 

  1. Food Facility means an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption at the retail level, whether the food is consumed on or off site or if there is a charge or not (CalCode Section 113789).

F. Permitted Food Facility 

  1. Permitted Food Facility means approved by the Sonoma County Health Department based on a determination of conformity with applicable laws, or in the absence of applicable laws, current public health principles, practices and generally recognized industry standards that protect public health (CalCode Section 113734).

G. Permit

  1. Permit means a written authorization to operate issued by a local enforcement officer (CalCode Section 113851).

H. Certification

  1. Certification means a food sanitation education program approved by the Sonoma County Health Department.
    a. Food Safety Certification is the successful completion of an 8 hour ANSI-approved food safety course. Personnel with this certification will function as the Food Safety Manager with overall responsibility for food safety at a food facility.
    b. Food Handler Card is the card received when an individual has completed a 2.5 hour ANSI-approved Food Handler course. 

I. Food Handler

  1. Food Handler is defined as any person(s) working in a Food Facility who engages in food preparation or who comes in contact with any food, utensil or equipment. 

J. Event Sponsor

  1. An Event Sponsor is any individual or group of students, faculty, staff or auxiliary employees, OR 
  2. any individual, or group of, member(s) of the general public not affiliated with the University. 

K. Public Event

  1. A Public Event is any event or function sponsored, organized, or hosted by any Event Sponsor that is held on University property and either:
    a. Is advertised in any media (including, but not limited to, newsletters, emails, posters, personal invitations (verbal or written) or social media) as open to the public and/or individuals who are not affiliated with the Event Sponsor, AND/OR 
    b. is intended to be open to anyone without a specific affiliation to the Event Sponsor, AND/OR 
    c. is held open to the public (anyone is welcome to attend and consume food).
  2. The “Public” includes the at-large community of the general population as well as the campus community not specifically affiliated with the sponsoring organization, the spouses and families of the Event Sponsor, University alumni, persons who are not employees of the Event Sponsor (or the University), business representatives and/or other non-employees.
  3. Examples of Public Events include, but are not limited to: fundraisers and recruiting events, weekly seminars open to the campus at large, open houses, etc.

L. Private Event

  1. As a public institution, all events at the University are generally considered to be public events. However, the nature of the event and number of participants from the University community may make the event “Private”. For purposes of this policy, the University generally defines a Private Event as any event or function sponsored, organized, or hosted by any individual, or group of, University students, faculty, staff, or auxiliary employees held on University property that:
    a. Is attended by a limited, finite, known University group who have a like interest which makes them mutually identifiable to each other as a group, and is identifiable as a specific entity in the perception of others (i.e. office staff, chess club), AND 
    b. is not open to or advertised to the general public, AND 
    c. does not invite individuals outside of the group (such as family, spouses, alumni, or community members, or potential recruits or donors) to attend.
  2. The Event Sponsor and/or the participants assume:
    a. Liability for the safety and wholesomeness of the food items provided, AND 
    b. responsibility for complying with policies and guidelines for safe food handling and food service health and safety laws. 
  3. Examples of Private Events include but are not limited to: meetings of a department, division, student club, auxiliary governing board, residence hall village groups, academic classes, etc. 

M. Approved Food Service Provider 

  1. Approved Food Service Providers have met the requirements established by the University, CSU procurement rules, laws, policies and regulations and all applicable health and safety regulations and are therefore allowed to provide food to campus clients as outlined in this policy.  The procedure and requirements for becoming an approved food service provider can be found on the Conference and Event Services website. 
  2. The list of Approved Food Service Providers will be regularly updated and posted on the Conference and Event Services website.

N. External Event

  1. An External Event meets one or more of the following criteria:
    a. 25% or more of the funding for space or food is from a source other than a campus fund, OR
    b. the primary event contact is not a campus employee or student working in their official University capacity, OR
    c. any registration and/or admission fees for the event are collected by an off-campus group.

O. Mobile Food Facility 

  1. A Mobile Food Facility is any vehicle or cart used in conjunction with a commissary or other permanent food facility upon which food is sold or distributed on a retail level (CalCode Section 113831)

III. Food Safety Standards

A. Any entity, person or organization involved in food preparation, sales or distribution will be required to comply with all laws under the California Health and Safety Codes. 

B. Events with food service must abide by the following minimum criteria:

  1. The area surrounding the food service must be kept clean at all times and left in clean condition at the conclusion of service.
  2. Adequate trash cans and recycling containers must be provided for waste materials.
  3. Organizations that fail to return the site to its original condition will be assessed a service charge. 

IV. Food Permits and Monitoring 

A. All food facilities or venues on campus are required to post the appropriate county health permit approving food distribution or sales in a conspicuous place during operation.  The County of Sonoma, Environmental Health Services will make routine inspections of food facilities to ensure that operations are in compliance with CalCode.

V. Event Classifications

A. Food service on campus shall be classified and will be provided as described in this section.  To ensure the health and safety of the event attendees, University Culinary Services (UCS) may not commingle services with an off-campus provider for the same service. 

B. Type 1 – Campus Catering 

  1. Campus Catering events are those which food service must be performed by UCS or, at their discretion, a contracted food service provider working on behalf of UCS.  UCS retains the first right of refusal for these events as well as the right to outsource catering at their discretion. 
  2. Type 1 events meet one or more of the following criteria:
    a. Food is prepared or stored using equipment owned and/or operated by Sonoma State Enterprises, Inc.
    b. The event is deemed an External Event as defined in section II.N. of this policy.
    c. The event has a planned attendance of 300 or more.
         1. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis for basic catered services. 
  3. Examples include, but are not limited to: Welcome Weekend BBQ, summer conference activity, GMC gala, etc.

C. Type 2 – Approved Food Service Provider

  1. In an effort to provide the campus community with a wide variety of food service options, the Type 2 event covers the vast majority of campus events.  Type 2 events are hosted by a campus entity and may be classified as either public or private events.  As long as the event has fewer than 300 attendees, does not use UCS equipment and is sponsored by a campus entity, the sponsor may use the approved list of food service providers. 
  2. Type 2 events require consultation (and may require a contract) with Contracts and Procurement. 
  3. Examples include, but are not limited to: department banquets, awards ceremonies, club meetings, etc.

D. Type 3 – Special Event 

  1. Occasionally a campus entity may hold an event that requires a special food offering to enhance the curricular or co-curricular experience.  These events are generally “signature” in nature and the food service offerings are an integral part of the experience.  Often the food service requested is outside of the core offerings of either UCS or those on the approved list of food service providers.  UCS retains the first right of refusal for these events as well as their right to outsource catering at their discretion. 
  2. Type 3 events meet one or more of the following criteria:
    a. The event does not repeat more than once per semester. 
    b. The event provides a unique experience or advantage to the students, faculty and/or staff of the University.
    c. The event’s requirements are such that the currently approved food service providers are unable to fulfill the service requirements.
  3. Type 3 events require consultation (and may require a contract) with Contracts and Procurement. 
  4. Examples include but are not limited to: Big Nite, ground breaking ceremonies, Multicultural/International Club Fair, etc.

E. Type 4 – Pot Luck

  1. The Pot Luck classification encompasses events where a campus group wants to gather and include food as part of their gathering.
  2. Type 4 events meet one or more of the following criteria: 
    a. Food is provided by one or more of the attendees of the event. 
    b. The event is classified as Private Event as defined in section II.L. of this policy.
  3. Examples include but are not limited to: department meetings, club meetings, staff meetings, etc.

F. Type 5 – Concessions

  1. Concessions are generally provided to enhance the experience of an event’s audience.  These events usually occur on a regular and recurring basis and the concessioner often sells products directly to the event attendees.
  2. Type 5 events must meet one or more of the following criteria:
    a. The event is either a sporting event or performing arts performance.
    b. The event occurs on multiple occasions during a semester.
  3. The Event Sponsor may either operate their own concessions (in accordance with all applicable health policies) or enter into a contractual agreement with a food service provider which may, or may not, be on the approved list of food service providers.
  4. Type 5 events require consultation (and may require a contract) through Contracts and Procurement.
  5. Examples include but are not limited to: CPA performances, Athletics events, GMC concessions, etc.

VI. Special Conditions

A. The California State Health & Safety Code, enforced by Sonoma County Department of Health Services allows for the following: 

  1. Student Organization Food Sales 
    a. In order to raise funds in support of their programs and/or to provide food as an integral part of an organizations charter, an official student organization (in good standing) may be granted approval to sell or dispense food on campus on no more than one occurrence per month.  Approved events must follow the specific health and safety regulations listed below. 
        1. Food sales are limited to Low Hazard Foods. 
        2. Food distributed or sold must be in compliance with any agreements between Sonoma State University, or its designee, and contracted businesses.
        3. No unpackaged foods that have been served to any person or returned from any eating area shall be served again or used in the preparation of other food. 
        4. Sales are permitted on an occasional basis to support fundraising for student organizations.  “Routine” or “frequently occurring sales”, especially of food products, is not permitted.  This includes coffee, hot chocolate, pastries, and refrigerated items. 
    b. Approved Locations and Procedures: Food sales in conjunction with a University approved student event shall be located in areas, during periods of time and following the procedures designated by the University. 
        1. The approved locations and procedures can be found on the Conference and Event Services website. 

B. Mobile Food Facility 

  1. A Mobile Food Facility (MFF) may be engaged to provide food services for specific, non-recurring events or to provide food services unavailable from UCS or vendors on the approved list of food service providers. 
  2. The Event Sponsor and the MFF vendor must complete the application form located on the Conference and Event Services website. 
  3. The use of a MFF requires a contract through Contracts and Procurement. 
  4. The use of MFFs are regulated as follows: 
    a. No more than one MFF may operate on campus at any time without prior approval. 
    b. The total number of MFFs on campus is limited to one per week. 
    c. Student Organization use
       1. A chartered student organization may use a MFF once per semester for fundraising or cultural needs. 
    d. Departmental use 
       1. Departments may use a MFF once per academic year and only for events as described in section V.D. of this policy, OR 
       2. departments may contract with a MFF for concessions related activities as described in section V.F. of this policy.
  5. MFFs may operate only in locations established and approved by the University. 
    a. Sites approved by the University may be found in the Mobile Food Facilities Rules and Procedures documentation on the Conference and Event Services website.

C. Food Donations 

  1. Donations are not required to come from a vendor from the approved list of food service providers.
  2. Serving donated food is prohibited for External Events as defined in section II. N. of this policy.
  3. If an Event Sponsor receives a donation of food or beverage to be served at an event, the sponsor must comply with the following:
    a. If the event is a Public Event as defined in section II.K. of this policy AND the food/beverage is a Potentially Hazardous Food as defined in section II.C. of this policy, it must be provided by a licensed facility and served and stored in accordance with applicable laws.
    b. The health permit and certificate of insurance of the supplier must be provided per the procedures outlined on the Conference and Event Services website. 
    c. Any alcohol donations must be coordinated with University Culinary Services to adhere to State laws and the University’s Alcoholic Beverages Policy (#1985-1).
    d. If the donor requires recognition as a condition of the donation, the sponsor must notify University Advancement.
  4. Donated food and beverage that will be served as part of a UCS catered service must be transferred directly to UCS before the service and meet safety and health standards as set by that entity. 
  5. The sale of food that has been donated free of charge is not permitted per CalCode. 

D. Community Markets and Vendor Fairs 

  1. Community Markets (where goods/services are available for sample or sale) and Vendor Fairs (where goods/services are available for sample only) are allowed periodically and on a case by case basis.  Details on Community Markets and Vendor Fairs can be found on the Conference and Event Services website. 

E. Children’s School 

  1. All meal services provided to the children who are enrolled in the School will have at least one Certified Food Handler present during food preparation and distribution.
    a. Approved Location: Children's School
    b. Procedure:  Scheduled in accordance with operation hours of the Children’s School.  All food sales or service must be in compliance with the Child/Adult Care Food Program (CACFE) and State Social Services Community Care Licensing.