Food Policy

Text: COVID-19 Update

Buffet-style and self-serve F&B stations are not permitted until further notice. Food must be staff-served with enhanced PPE or individually wrapped / boxed meals. To learn more about COVID-19 policy updates, please see the Columbia University Event Policy for Summer 2021.

Any student group or organization involved with planning events on campus must abide by specific food and alcohol guidelines. 

Goal/Objective:

  • For health code and safety reasons, food and beverages may only be provided by a fully licensed and insured provider. 

  • This policy is designed to comply with the New York City Health Code (NYCHC) and the regulations propagated by the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Food Safety & Community Sanitation (DOH).

Statement of Basis and Purpose:

Columbia University holds a vested interest in protecting the health and well-being of its faculty population. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Many, if not all, foodborne illnesses can be prevented through proper storage, proper cooking, and proper handling of food. In this Food Policy, Columbia University sets forth a series of guidelines designed to educate and inform its faculty, staff, and student population about proper food handling and service. In addition, this Food Policy is designed to safeguard the sale & distribution of foods across the campus and to comply with the New York City Health Code (NYCHC) and the regulations propagated by the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Food Safety & Community Sanitation (DOH).

Policy Format:

This policy specifically contemplates the following:

  1. “Required Documents & Permits”: permits and documentation required for sale or distribution of food on campus
  2. “Outside Vendors”: Protocols for purchasing or receiving foods from Non-Approved Vendors (Vendors who have not yet been approved via Procurement), off-campus vendors, or those vendors not already affiliated with Columbia University.
  3. “Approved Vendors”: Protocols for purchasing or receiving foods from Approved Vendors (Vendors who have submitted all required and  requested documentation and been approved via Procurement)
  4. “Alcohol”: Guidelines and requirements for serving alcoholic beverages, including by Outside caterers (e.g. off-campus/not affiliated with Columbia).
  5. “Food Trucks”: Guidelines and requirements for Food Trucks(e.g. mobile food-vending units, wholly-licensed vehicles, carts, pushcarts, trailers, and other self-contained vehicular food concepts) on campus
  6. “Self-Service Events”: Guidelines and requirements for bring-your-own-food gatherings, barbecues, and other campus gatherings where food is provided by Recognized Student Group, Department, or individuals.
  7. “Fundraisers”: Guidelines and requirements for approved food-centered fund-raising or charitable activities open to students, faculty, and the general public on-campus
  8. “Greenmarkets”: Guidelines and requirements for approved small-scale, open-air market(s) for fresh produce, fresh fruits, and artisanal foods grown, made, harvested, and/or packaged and always sold by Outside Vendors who possess a valid permit and comply with the policy set forth in Section 2: Outside Vendors, which promote the spirit of environmental stewardship.

Required Permits and Certificates:

In order to protect the public health, the NYCHC prohibits the sale and/or distribution of foods not prepared in a kitchen or establishment which holds a current valid DOH Food Service Establishment (FSE) permit and has culinary staff and/or a culinary supervisor who possesses an NYC Food Protection Certificate (FPC) card. With the exception of Self Service Events and Bake Sales (see Section 6 and Section 7, respectively), food for sale or distribution at Columbia University shall be sold or distributed in accordance with NYCHC Article 81.04 (which currently states, in part, “Food shall be obtained from sources approved by the appropriate regulatory authority having jurisdiction over such food source and shall comply with all… rules…”) and NYCHC Article 81.05 (which contemplates technical review for FSEs). With the exception of Self Service Events and Bake Sales, this includes foods prepared in homes, such as University housing, or any such place which does not have a current valid FSE permit. With the exception of Self Service Events and Bake Sales, both the DOH and Columbia University prohibit the sale and/or distribution of foods not prepared under an FSE permit and overseen by an FPC holder. This applies to any organization including, but not limited to, student groups, faculty, or staff. (Section 7: Bake Sales contemplates fundraisers.)

1. Required Documents & Permits:

Columbia University food service permits are obtained by “The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York” and are for the use of Food Service Establishments (FSEs) managed & operated by the University, chiefly University Events Management (UEM) and Columbia Dining (CD).

The NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOH) requires a permit for operating an FSE, a Food Protection Certificate (FPC) holder to oversee the operation, a facility built to the specifications outlined in Article 81 of the NYCHC, and a method of operation in accordance with Article 81 of the NYCHC.  Obtaining an FSE permit through the DOH requires a number of prerequisites that are designed to ensure business accountability and food safety. To ensure the safety & health of the Columbia community, vendors providing food to the campus and the campus business community are required to be at the permit level and method of operation as prescribed by the DOH and are required to operate with a high level of accountability and food safety.  The categories of DOH-issued permits accepted at Columbia are below. The vendor must have one of the following valid permits:

  • H15 Temporary Food Service Establishment (must be valid and must name the location of the event)
  • H25 Retail Food Service Establishment (must be valid and must be held in the name of the entity operating the FSE)
  • H26 Non-Retail Food Service Establishment (must be valid and must be held in the name of the entity operating the FSE)
  • Article 20-C Food Processing (must be valid and must be held in the name of the entity operating the FSE) (this is also a permit carried by farmers, ranchers, Greenmarket vendors, and makers of such packaged foods as jams, jellies, preserves, granola, and other shelf-stable foods)

On-campus FSEs are responsible for complying with the policies of the DOH as well as the policies of UEM.  It is an extension of best practices and the spirit of the NYCHC that any & all food associated with the FSE have an appropriate degree of accountability to protect the ultimate consumer. 

2. Outside Food Vendors & Caterers

Student groups are required to purchase food from Approved Vendors whenever possible.  However, in the event that the purchase of food from a Non-Approved Vendor (“Outside Food Vendor”) is required, and in accordance with 1. Required Documents & Permits (above), the following protocol must be followed for FSEs providing food and/or food service for Self-Service Events or for Catered Events:     

  1. Obtain a copy of the restaurant’s or FSE’s NYC DOH-issued permit from the restaurant’s manager (see bullet-pointed categories under Section 1. Required Documents & Permits)
  2. If not displayed in the window, determine the restaurant’s Letter Grade and standing with DOH. The restaurant’s DOH inspection history can be viewed by searching online here.
  3. Obtain a copy of the restaurant’s Liability insurance certificate.  If the restaurant will be participating in an on-campus event, then the Liability insurance certificate shall have the Certificate Holder named as: Columbia University / Attn. Steve Lawrence / Risk Management Department / 615 West 131st Street, 3rd Floor / New York, NY 10027
  4. To your Student Group Advisor or to your Event Sponsor, submit a copy of the NYC DOH-issued permit and the Liability insurance certificate.
    • Please note that this is a campus-wide policy and applies equally to each event which contains food & beverage.
  5. The FSE or Restaurant must now:
    • Maintain cold food at or below 410 Fahrenheit (5Celsius) until ready for consumption (see Log 2)
    • Maintain hot food at or above 1400 Fahrenheit (60Celsius) until ready for consumption  (see Log 2)
    • Use “Time as a Public Health Control” labeling for foods which will not be temperature controlled after leaving the Approved Vendor.  Time as a Public Health Control labeling is summarized here:
      • Date
      • Name of food
      • Time removed from hot holding or time removed from cold holding
      • Initial temperature when removed from hold holding (at or above 1400 Fahrenheit [60Celsius]) or from cold holding (at or below 410 Fahrenheit [5Celsius])
      • Discard time which is the Time Removed plus 4 (four) hours.  At the Discard time, the food must have either been consumed or discarded to avoid potential bacterial proliferation which could cause foodborne illness  (see Log 3)
    • Avoid any bare-hand contact with the food; no touching or sampling
    • Use sanitized utensils for serving
  6. The FSE or restaurant must meet all of the requirements below for Approved Vendors

Food purchased from Outside Vendors is to be used expressly for the event for which it was purchased.  Food purchased from Outside Vendors is for immediate consumption and is not to be resold or reused, unless used for purposed as outlined in Section 7. Bake Sales.  A helpful checklist for Catered Events can be found on in the Appendix. 

3. Approved Food Vendors

In accordance with 1. Required Documents & Permits (above), any foods purchased from Approved Vendors (“Approved Food Vendors”) for consumption in meetings, special events, or other programs must have approval from UEM and the relevant Student Group Adviser. All Approved Vendors with appropriate certificates & permits can be identified by contacting UEM or an adviser.  All third party vendors and Outside Vendors must have a valid permit as per Section 1. Required Documents & Permits.

Columbia University maintains a list of multiple approved food vendors. The list can be found here.

All foods purchased or received from Approved Vendors must be accompanied by a completed Vendor Log (please find the Vendor Log) stating the following:

  • Name of Establishment
  • Date & Time that the order was placed
  • List of prepared foods which were purchased
  • Time of delivery
  • Printed name and signature of the person delivering the food

The completed documentation shall be submitted to your student advisor or event sponsor, who will then submit it to UEM.

4. Alcohol

UEM is the exclusive catering provider to Lerner Hall and Faculty House. 

Event sponsors using outside catering providers for University events must adhere to the following University protocol:

  • If alcohol will be served at the event, the vendor must provide a copy of its Special Event Permit (see above) which must be applied for a minimum of 2 weeks in advance of the event date. The permit can be applied for on the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) website.  The link to the Special Event Permit application is here.
  • All caterers are required by Columbia to have a current valid permit to operate an FSE (see Section 1. Required Documents & Permits) to provide evidence that the food is originating from a commercial kitchen and/or licensed premises.

Additionally, if alcohol will be served at the event, the vendor must comply with the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) laws as set forth on the SLA website, which can be found here. The vendor must also comply with the terms and conditions of the Special Event Permit, which are currently as follows:

All Special Event Permits in general:

  1. No person shall sell, deliver or give away or cause or permit or procure to be sold, delivered or given away any alcoholic beverages to any person, actually or apparently under the age of twenty‐one years.  
  2. No child, actually or apparently under the age of 16 years will be admitted to the premises at which event is held unless accompanied by their parent or guardian or by an adult person authorized by its parent or guardian, as provided by of §260.20 of the Penal Law.  
  3. No sale or service of alcoholic beverages shall be made during the hours prohibited by the provisions of §106 (5) of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law or by rule of the county government having jurisdiction in the county in which the event is held.  
  4. No alcoholic beverage may be sold, served or consumed in any area where bingo is played.  
  5. Alcoholic beverages must be purchased from a licensed brewer, winery, or wholesaler ONLY, and not from a retail licensee.  
  6. A separate permit is required for each point of sale for each date. The permit must be on display at the event.

Temporary Beer & Wine Permits: 

With an exception provided for Lerner Hall (which possesses a building-wide liquor license), Section 97  of the New York State ABC laws currently authorizes those with a temporary beer and wine permit to sell only beer or wine at retail for consumption at a gathering for a period not to exceed 24 consecutive hours.  Such permit shall be valid for a period not to exceed 24 consecutive hours commencing 8:00 a.m. of the effective date of such permit except that in no event shall the sale of beer be permitted prior to 12:00 Noon on Sunday or during the hours prohibited by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law or by rule of the county government in which the event is being held. This permit shall be subject to the following conditions:

  1. An application must be received by the Liquor Authority a minimum of 15 days prior to the event.  
  2. No alcoholic beverages except beer or wine may be kept or be permitted to be kept or sold on the premises during the period that any permit issued in accordance with this application is in effect.  
  3. No beer or wine may be taken from the premises where said event is held except that at the termination of said event, any beer or wine which shall remain on hand will be removed from said premises by brewer, winery or wholesaler from which it was purchased, or by its designated agent.
  4. Beer may be sold, served or consumed in rooms or areas in which authorized games of chance are held. Applicants must provide a copy of the Racing and Wagering certificate with the application.
  5. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Law currently limits the number of Temporary Beer & Wine permits that can be issued for a location to four (4) permits during a 12 month period.

Caterers Permit

With an exception provided for Lerner Hall (which possesses a building-wide liquor license), Section 98 currently authorizes an active on‐premises retail licensee with a caterers permit to furnish alcoholic beverages for use at a specific event located off the licensed premises. The applicant must be hired to furnish provisions (food) and alcoholic beverages at the event. An applicant cannot cater for themselves. Such permit shall be valid for a period not to exceed 24 consecutive hours commencing 8:00 a.m. of the effective date of such permit and shall authorize the permittee to furnish provisions and alcoholic beverages for use at an indoor event.  (Please note that outdoor events, to be held in a reservable space, will require physical delimiting of the area of consumption unless part of an approved licensed premises). 

This permit shall be subject to the following conditions:  

  1. Application must be received by the Liquor Authority a minimum of 15 days prior to the event.  
  2. A menu must be submitted to the SLA at the time of application.

Food Must Be Present

In accordance with §64‐a of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, food must be present in order for an event to proceed with alcohol.  This means that food to be served must be on site at the venue and accounted for.  If food is en route, the event cannot proceed until the food arrives.

The food provided must meet the minimum requirements under for example: fish, chicken, salads, soups, sandwiches, finger foods. Pretzels and potato chips do not meet the minimum requirements for food.

In addition to substantial food, non-alcoholic beverages (such as water, flavored water, soda, juice, or other non-alcoholic beverages) must be available at the event.

It is the responsibility of the event sponsor to be in compliance with the food requirement.

Number of Bars

The number of bars filed for during the permit application process and listed on the Temporary Beer & Wine permit or the Caterers permit must be the same as the number of bars serving alcohol at the venue.  A “bar” is defined as any point of alcohol service at the venue.  If the permit was filed for one bar, and you have two service points, then you are in violation of the ABC Laws.  Be certain that your setup conforms to the number of bars that were approved on your diagram & permit. It is the responsibility of the event sponsor to be in compliance with the terms of the permit, which will reflect the number of bars allowed at the event.

“Bring Your Own” Rule

The ABC laws prohibit bring-your-own alcohol in any public establishment which does not possess a valid liquor license.  Further, Lerner Hall and Faculty House do not allow “BYOB”, also known as bring-your-own-alcohol. Bring-your-own alcohol can be done at invitation-only events where all guests are 21 years of age or older.

5. Food Trucks

Food Trucks (i.e. vendors selling food from a vehicle, stand-alone cart, pushcart, trailer, truck, or other portable means of servicing food) are permitted to serve food at events located on the Morningside Campus and at Baker Field. All Food Trucks and event sponsors must comply with University Policy.

In addition, the following rules apply:

  • Food Trucks must be a component of an officially recognized event held in reservable space.
  • Food truck vendors must provide floor protection beneath their vehicles to prevent oil and grease spills from staining the hardscapes.  Any stains resulting from vehicles not complying with this will incur the full cost of the stain removal.
  • No more than two Food Trucks are permitted at a time.
  • The vendor name, driver’s name, license plate, and type of make/model of the vehicle must be shared with Public Safety no later than 48 hours prior to arrival on campus. 
  • Approved Locations for Food Truck: Sundial (2 trucks) and Wein Court (1 Truck)

The following must be provided by the vendor no later than 10 business days prior to the event:

  • Current valid Mobile Food Vendor Personal License, which is a photo ID issued by the Department of Health after the applicant has successfully passed a series of application requirements and a food handlers test.
  • Current Mobile Food vending Use Permit, which is a decal affixed to the vehicle stating conformance with design standards established with the Department of Health after passing inspection by Department of Health.
  • A copy of the current letter grade after passing inspection by the Department of Health.
  • A copy of the responsible Vendor person with a current FDNY Certificate of Fitness (G-23).
  • Proof of inspection of the vehicle including combustible tanks.
  • Proof of Insurance including Auto Insurance (limits $1M primary and $1M excess) and Products Liability Insurance ($1M primary and $1M excess coverage).

Please also note the following additional requirements:

  • Food Trucks may have no more than two 20 lbs. propane cylinders, which must be mounted securely on vehicle and have a functional fire extinguisher of a rating of at least 20-B:C.
  • Consistent with current University Environmental Health and Safety requirements, no mobile food truck may ever be left unattended in a public area on campus or allowed within 50 feet of the property of any building occupied as a multiple dwelling, any school, church, or place of assembly or any subway entrance, exit vent or other opening.
  • Events where Food Trucks are present are required to have grounds keeping staff assigned from load-in through load-out.  The number of personnel required will depend on the specifics of the event.  Event Sponsors are responsible for submitting a Facilities Services Request to arrange for grounds keeping personnel.  Facilities Services Requests must be received no later than 3 business days prior to the event.
6. Self-Service and Bring-Your-Own-Food Events

Self-service events, including barbecues, bring-your-own-food gatherings, and other events promote community and allow faculty and/or students to show off their cooking skills. However, Self-Service Events are a potential source of foodborne illness if food isn’t handled properly or if the food is contained in dishes that have not had proper ware washing or sanitizing. Additionally, the source of the food is a consideration: food must be purchased from an approved & licensed retailer [such as a grocery store] or a licensed FSE.

Requirements for all Self-Service and Bring-Your-Own-Food Events

  • Serve hot or cold foods within 4 hours of removing from heat or refrigeration.
  • When reheating foods, heat the food thoroughly until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the food is 1650 Fahrenheit (73.9Celsius).
  • Use a barrier or a clean utensil to eliminate any bare hand contact with food.
  • When possible, use disposable wares (plates, utensils, serving dishes, etc)
    • If not possible to use disposable wares, ensure that all wares are rinsed, washed, and sanitized before & after the Self-Service Events in a commercial FSE.

Additional requirements for barbecues and any similar cooking gatherings:

  • Barbecues shall be kept a minimum of 60 inches (152.4 centimeters) away from any buildings, light posts, or flammable objects.
  • In some cases, an Open Flame Permit may be required.  Please check with the Venue Manager of the building that will be host to your event for specific requirements.
  • Obtain all meats and foods from an approved source and ensure that the USDA seal of inspection is displayed on the outside of commercially-packaged meat such as steaks, hot dogs, or chicken.
  • Use a metal stem thermometer to ensure that the meat being grilled has reached the minimum temperature:
  • Pork must reach 1500 Fahrenheit (65.60 Celsius) for 15 seconds before being considered fully cooked
  • Beef, Lamb, and Venison must reach 1580 Fahrenheit (700 Celsius) for 15 seconds before being considered fully cooked
  • Poultry, such as chicken, duck or quail, must reach 1650 Fahrenheit (73.9Celsius) for 15 seconds before being considered fully cooked
  • Ensure all briquettes or cooking wood is fully extinguished and cool to the touch before discarding into the trash.
  • Food is for immediate consumption and must be discarded four hours after being cooked.

Additionally, Recognized Student Groups which choose to purchase foods for meetings, special events, or other programs must observe the food safety standards as outlined in the NYCHC Article 81, including the following current requirements:

  • Purchase foods from licensed FSEs.
  • Label the bag or container with the following:
    • Initial time that the food was removed from the restaurant.
    • A time (four hours after the Initial time) that the food will be consumed by or discarded at. This is in line with FDA food science and prevents food in the “Danger Zone” from developing toxins and making anyone sick.
  • Serve hot or cold foods within 4 hours of removing from heat or refrigeration (hence the need for labeling, as detailed above).
  • When reheating foods for immediate service, heat the food thoroughly until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the food is 1650 Fahrenheit (73.9Celsius).
  • Remaining or “leftover” food cannot be used for resale or repurposed for any other event other than the event it was originally purchased for.
7.  Bake Sales and other Fundraising Foods 

Unless overseen by UEM or an approved & licensed Caterer, all fundraising foods (including bake sales or other events which have the express purpose of fundraising) shall be shelf-stable. Shelf-stable foods generally include baked goods (such as breads, brownies, cookies, fudge).  Below are some guidelines for keeping your fundraising event in line with University policy:

  • Bake Sale must be part of a recognized University Event held in a reservable space and sponsored by a recognized student group or department.
  • Protect food from potential contamination by wrapping in plastic or food-grade paper, enclosing in bags, plastic, metal, or glass containers.
  • Items on display should be limited in quantity to reduce the potential for contamination, including open packages of bread, brownies, cakes, candies, cheesecake, cookies, cupcakes, donuts, pies, scones, tarts, and other sundry confections. For instance, if you have two dozen to sell, it is appropriate to display one or two items and protect the other twenty from potential contamination.
  • Use a barrier or a clean utensil to eliminate any bare hand contact with food.
  • When possible, use disposable containers to transport and offer the foods.

If not possible to use disposable containers, ensure that all containers and wares are rinsed, washed, and sanitized before & after the Fundraiser in a commercial FSE.

8.  Greenmarkets

Greenmarket vendors are University-registered vendors gathered in a pre-determined & pre-approved campus area to offer fresh produce, fresh fruit, and artisanal products to students on campus. Greenmarket vendors must hold an Article 20-C license from New York State or an equivalent permit from New York City DOH. It is understood that all vegetables or fruit purchased from a greenmarket must:

  • Be protected from potential contamination between purchase & final consumption.
  • Be vigorously washed before being consumed raw or cooked.

Further, it is understood that greenmarket vendors, whether on-campus or off-campus, are independent purveyors and do not represent University food service. 

Definitions

The following present the broad categories which are referenced throughout the Food Policy:

Caterer - means a food service establishment holding a permit issued by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH) that prepares food and may provide transportation for, and service of, food at a location other than the establishment. A caterer also is any individual who prepares food at a permitted food service or non-retail processing establishment for service at another location.

Columbia Affiliate - a recognized University group or organization, identified by a University chart string and, in the case of Student Events, an adviser. 

Contaminated - means adulterated or spoiled food, or food and/or equipment which is exposed to filth, toxic substances, or pest (rodent, insect, animal) contact.

Cook-to temperature - means the minimum cooking temperature, to be achieved for a minimum of 15 seconds, to kill the pertinent pathogen in the food being heated.

Cut leafy greens - means leafy greens whose leaves have been cut, shredded, sliced, chopped, torn, or otherwise rent.  The term “leafy greens” includes, but is not limited to: iceberg lettuce, baby and other leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, romaine lettuce, arugula, escarole, endive, spinach, spring mix, kale, cabbage, kale, chard, or other greens.

Danger Zone - the temperature range between 1400 Fahrenheit (62.70 Celsius) and 410 Fahrenheit (50 Celsius) in which both spoilage and pathogenic bacteria will proliferate.  Food must be kept out of the Danger Zone except during controlled, necessary preparation when food can be kept at any temperature provided that the food is rapidly reheated or rapidly cooled after preparation.

Event Sponsor - the sponsor of an event must be a recognized University group or organization, identified by a University chart string and, in the case of Student Events, an adviser. The event sponsor is the primary planner and contact for the event and accepts full responsibility for all stages of planning and execution of the event. In addition, the sponsoring organization must have a strong presence at the event.

Food Protection Certificate - means issued by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH), the Certificate qualifies an individual to supervise food preparation or food handling for food service to the public.

Health Code - means, specifically, Article 81 of the New York City Health Code and, generally, the entire New York City Health Code.

Metal Stem Thermometer - a digital or analog thermometer designed to penetrate the center of a protein to determine adequate cook-to temperature or adequate cold-holding temperature.

Packaged - means bottled, canned, cartoned, sealed- or securely-bagged, or securely wrapped, and does not include a wrapper, carry out box, or other non-durable vessel used to protect food during service or receipt of the food by the ultimate consumer.

Potentially Hazardous Food (PHF) - means any food which consists in whole or in part of any of the following: Beef, Comminuted meats, Cut Leafy Greens, Cut Melon, Eggs, Fish (including crustacea, shellfish, or other aquatic animals), Garlic-in-oil mixtures, Milk or Milk products, Plant-origin foods which have been heat-treated (including cooked potatoes, cooked tomatoes, and other cooked vegetables), Pork, Poultry, Venison, and other animal proteins or vegetables which have a water activity (aW) above 0.85 or an hydrogen ion concentration (pH) of 4.6 or above. Also called Temperature Controlled for Safety (TCS) Food. These foods must be maintained at or above 1400 Fahrenheit (62.70 Celsius) or below 410 Fahrenheit (50 Celsius) and must be kept out of the Temperature Danger Zone.

Ready-to-eat - means food that is in a form that is edible without additional preparation or heat treatment to achieve food safety. 

Recognized Student Group -  A student group with a designated Advisor and a University chartstring.

Sanitizing - means effective bacterial treatment by heat or chemical means that destroys pathogens on surfaces treated.  Acceptable sanitization methods include:

  • Immersion for at least one minute in a clean solution containing at least 50 parts per million (ppm) of available chlorine.
  • Immersion for at least one minute in a clean solution containing at least 200 parts per million (ppm) of quaternary ammonium.
  • Immersion for at least one minute in a clean solution containing at least 12.5 parts per million (ppm) of iodine.
  • Immersion for at least one-half minute in clean hot water at a temperature of not less than 1700 Fahrenheit (76.70 Celsius).
  • Swabbing fixed equipment with a solution of at least twice the strength required for that sanitizing solution (above) when used for immersion.
  • Treatment with culinary-quality steam in the case of equipment too large to sanitize by immersion, but in which steam can be confined.

Shared Kitchen - means a commercial kitchen that is rented or leased by more than one business entity or food service establishment operator, and that is operated at different times to avoid more than one entity or operator being present in accordance with the FDA Bioterrorism Act of 2002.

Shelf-stable - means food (whether or not it’s pre-packaged) which does not require temperature control to maintain safety. Shelf-stable foods are able to be kept at room temperature or in the Danger Zone for long periods of time without spoiling or becoming potentially hazardous. Examples of shelf-stable foods include most Baked Goods (e.g. bread, cookies), Beef Jerky, most Cured Meats (e.g. pepperoni, salami), Coffee, Cherries, Chocolate, Dried Fruit (e.g. banana chips, shredded coconut), Lemons, Limes, Packaged Products Not Labeled “Keep Refrigerated”, Peanuts, Popcorn, Potato Chips, Tree Nuts (e.g. almonds, pistachios, walnuts), and others.

Single-use utensil - means cups, containers, lids, plates, knives, spoons, stoppers, paddles, straws, placemats, napkins, wrappers, toothpicks, and other similar articles which are intended by the manufacturer for single eating and drinking usage and generally recognized by the public as items to be discarded after one use.

Stand - means a movable, portable, or collapsible structure, framework, device, or other contrivance, other than a vehicle or pushcart, used for displaying, keeping, or storing any food at a temporary food service establishment.

Temperature Controlled for Safety (TCS) food - means foods that must be maintained at or above 1400 Fahrenheit (62.70 Celsius) or below 410 Fahrenheit (50 Celsius) and must be kept out of the temperature Danger Zone. Another name for Potentially Hazardous Food.  See the definition for Potentially Hazardous Food, above, for examples of TCS food.

Temporary Food Service Establishment - means a food service establishment that has obtained an H15 permit through the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOH) to legally sell foods in accordance with the NYC Health Code.

Utensil - means any tableware or kitchenware, such as knives, forks, spoons, tongs, spatulas, and the like which are used for the storage, preparation, transfer, or consumption of food.

Ware washing - means the cleaning and sanitizing of utensils and any & all food contact surfaces.

Catered Events

This checklist is an extension of Columbia University’s Food Policy and is here to help you organize your catered event. To ensure food safety, regulatory compliance, and a good time for everyone, it’s important to follow the timelines & requirements outlined below. Any questions should be directed to UEM.

Pre Event (Catered)

Confirm event details with venue

  • Building/Room
  • Load In/Load Out
  • Reservation Start/End
  • Event Start/End
  • Access into venue
  • Open Flame policy is reviewed with venue
    • Sterno policy
  • Trash removal protocols
  • Ensure all necessary permits have been obtained
  • Caterer’s Certificates of Insurance
    • Caterer’s Food Service Establishment  permit
    • Most Recent Letter Grade issues to Caterer’s establishment
    • Caterer’s Liquor License
    • Caterer’s permit to serve alcohol off of their licensed premises

During Event (Catered)

Food temp monitored

  • Temp Logs (provided) are completed hourly
  • Food transported hot is verified to be at 1400F (600C) or above
  • Food transported cold is verified to be below 410F (50C) and reheated to 1650F (73.90C) or above for at least 15 seconds before being served
  • “Time” is noted
  • Food discarded no more than four hours after removal from heat/cold holding

Post Event (Catered)

Cleanup

  • Trash is properly gathered
  • All equipment/china  is removed from premises
  • Kitchen facilities thoroughly cleaned (ovens/countertops/corridors/etc.)

All food served to guests or held without temperature control is discarded

All food held with “Time as a Public Health Control” is discarded

Shelf-stable food can be redistributed or donated. Other food cannot.

 

Self-Service Events

This checklist is an extension of Columbia University’s Food Policy and is here to help you organize your self-service event. To ensure food safety, regulatory compliance, and a good time for everyone, it’s important to follow the timelines & requirements outlined below. Any questions should be directed to UEM.

Pre Event (Self-Service)

  • Confirm event details with venue
  • Building/Room
  • Load In/Load Out
  • Reservation Start/End
  • Event Start/End
  • Access into venue
  • Open Flame policy is reviewed with venue
    • Applies to sterno and open cooking
  • Trash removal protocols

Ensure all necessary permits have been obtained

  • Most Recent Letter Grade issued to Food Service Establishment or restaurant

If alcohol will be served, by whom?

  • Review Section 2 and Section 4 of the Food Policy.

If alcohol will be served, has a permit been obtained?

  • Caterer’s Liquor License
  • Caterer’s permit to serve alcohol off of their licensed premises

During Event (Self-Service)

Food temp monitored

  • Food transported hot is verified to be at 1400F (600C) or above
  • Food transported cold is verified to be below 410F (50C) and reheated to 1650F (73.90C) or above for at least 15 seconds before being served
  • “Time” is noted
  • Food discarded no more than four hours after removal from heat/cold holding

Post Event (Self-Service)

Cleanup

  • Trash is properly gathered
  • All equipment/plates/utensils are removed from premises
  • Kitchen facilities thoroughly cleaned (ovens/countertops/corridors/etc.)
  • All food served to guests or held without temperature control is discarded

All food held with “Time as a Public Health Control” is discarded

Shelf-stable food can be redistributed or donated. Other food cannot.

 

Bake Sale Checklist

This checklist is an extension of Columbia University’s Food Policy and is here to help you organize your Bake Sale event. To ensure food safety, regulatory compliance, and a good time for everyone, it’s important to follow the timelines & requirements outlined below. Any questions should be directed to UEM.

Pre Bake Sale

Confirm event details with venue

  • Access into venue, accessed approved for sidewalk or lawn
  • Trash removal protocols

Confirm that the baked goods will be “shelf-stable” and will not require heat or cold to maintain food safety.

  • Cookies, chocolate, fudge, breads, etc are all “shelf-stable” and do not require heat or refrigeration to maintain safety
  • Baked goods should be pre-cut or pre-measured to reduce food handling and minimize the chance for product contamination
  • Baked goods should be packaged or wrapped prior to the bake sale. This packaging or wrapping protects from potential contamination

During Bake Sale

Continuously protect your product from environmental and/or personal contamination

  • Saran wrap, aluminum foil, waxed paper, paper bags, and similar food-safe barriers all protect against contamination
  • People should not be allowed to eat or drink over any of the product for sale

Post Bake Sale

Cleanup

  • Trash is properly gathered
  • All equipment/china  is removed from premises
  • Kitchen facilities thoroughly cleaned (ovens/countertops/corridors/etc.)

Shelf-stable food (baked goods) can be redistributed or donated. Other food cannot.

Log 1: Vendor Info
  • Date & Time of Order
  • Vendor or Restaurant Name
  • Time of Pick up or Delivery
  • Description of prepared foods
  • Temperature (must be <41F (5c)) or >140F (60C))
  • Printed name of the person delivering food
Log 2: Temperature Tracking Log
Log 3: Time as a Public Health Control Log