Food Safety

The University of Minnesota will enforce the Minnesota Food Code to ensure food establishments safely handle, store, prepare, and serve foods to the University community. All foods offered for sale on University property must be in compliance with this code.

Food Services

Food service providers must:

  • Comply with all applicable Federal, State, and University standards and regulations.
  • Ensure that food establishment managers are trained and certified as food service managers as per the Minnesota Food Code.
  • Report all foodborne illness complaints promptly to University Health and Safety (UHS) by phone (612) 626-6002 during normal business hours, or to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Foodborne Illness Hotline at 877-FOOD-ILL (1-877-366-3455) after hours. Report kitchen fires or other emergencies promptly to 911.

Food service employees must:

Report to the Food Services Manager information about their health and activities as they relate to diseases transmissible through food, including:

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or other acute gastrointestinal illness
  • Jaundice
  • An infected wound, boil, or other lesion containing pus on the hands, wrists, or exposed portions of the arms
  • Salmonella, Shigella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), or other enteric bacterial pathogen
  • Hepatitis A virus or norovirus

Food service applicants to whom a conditional offer of employment is made must also report any of the above information.

Food service managers must:

  • Fulfill the requirements of Minnesota law to obtain Food Service Manager certification or the ServSafe Certification
  • Provide proof of certification to UHS on request
  • Notify UHS of any food employee reporting any of the symptoms or illnesses covered above
  • Maintain a record of all employee reports of illness, which must be available for review by UHS sanitarians upon request
  • Correct food safety violations in the time and manner specified by UHS inspectors
  • Participate in training, continuing education, and/or re-certification, as needed, through Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) approved courses or comparable UHS courses

Campus Events Serving Food

For the protection of students, staff, and the public attending a meeting, conference, campus event, etc., on University of Minnesota property, food must 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 (EHO) or designated person. Approval is granted through submission of a University Food Permit Form for review. For events at which only cooked/prepared food to be served is pizza obtained from commercial establishment, a Pizza Event Only Form can be used instead.

No home-prepared foods are allowed at a permitted event except for those events conforming to all the requirements of Bake Sales and Potluck Events.

Food service preparation and holding of foods at permitted events must comply with University Standards and Guidelines as developed by UHS–PHP. The requirements are based on food service codes that are used by state and local health departments in Minnesota. The requirements are simple, but in accordance with health codes.

For indoor requirements, see the following resources:

For outdoor requirements, see the following resources:

Depending on the nature of the event and food to be served, it may be required that the applicant meet with and discuss event requirements with the University's EHO 5–10 days prior to the event.

UHS–PHP has the authority to inspect a permitted food event and, if necessary, prohibit food distribution when food safety practices are deficient and/or not in accord with University requirements.


When a University Food Permit is not required:

  • Events where 25 or less individuals attend
  • Internal University faculty, staff, service unit or office events to which the general campus community is not invited (Events open to an entire academic school, department or college are not considered an internal event)
  • Private events, which must be contracted according to Administrative Policy: Using and Leasing University Real Estate.
  • Events for which all food is prepared entirely by the University Dining Service
  • Events where the only foods served are prepackaged and considered non-potentially hazardous by MN Food Code (canned /bottled beverages, dry baked goods, bagels, breads, cookies, chips, jams, preserves, honey, nuts, dried herbs, packaged spices and spice mixes, dry cookie, cake, bread mixes)

For what constitutes potentially hazardous foods, see the MN Department of Health Potentially Hazardous Fact Sheet. Examples include: eggs, milk, meat, poultry, cooked rice, cooked potatoes, cooked noodles, certain produce (raw seed sprouts; cut melons, including watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew; cut tomatoes).

Food Service During Campus Emergencies

In the event of utility failure (electricity, gas, or water) where normal operation of the facility is compromised, food will be provided to students and staff who are unable to leave campus or housed in alternative housing. Food provided is subject to limitations:

  • Food service may continue through the regular meal time if the food was at approved temperatures at the time of power failure.
  • Service will conclude within two hours of the power failure.
  • Suitable single-use service utensils must be available to replace those utensils that require washing.
  • Potentially hazardous foods in refrigerators at 41°F or below can be safely used; however, using these items first and as quickly as possible after power failure is required.
  • Potentially hazardous foods in refrigerators and freezers at temperatures above 41°F for two or more hours must immediately be discarded.
  • All required sanitation measures must be maintained as well as a temperature log for all potentially hazardous foods used during the emergency.

Emergency Closure of Food Service Facility

If following an on-site inspection, UHS determines that closure of a food facility is required in order to protect environmental or public health, UHS will order the immediate closure of the facility in writing. The order will:

  • Identify the food establishment
  • Describe the specific reasons why emergency closure is needed
  • List the corrections which are necessary before the establishment can be re-opened
  • Be issued to the owner, manager, or person in charge of operations of the premises

The person receiving the order must close the facility and request all customers to vacate. The facility will remain closed until UHS rescinds the order for emergency closure.

When all conditions leading to emergency closure are corrected, the food facility manager must request an inspection by UHS. After the corrections are verified, UHS will rescind the closure order in writing.

Foodborne Illness Complaints

Complaints about possible foodborne illness incidents should be directed to UHS at (612) 626-6002 or to the MN Department of Health (MDH) (877) 366-3455. UHS may refer a complainant to MDH, which will then provide UHS with specifics regarding the complaints it receives. After a joint assessment with MDH, UHS will:

  • Interview employees of the implicated establishment, if appropriate
  • Conduct onsite observation/inspection to assess food-handling practices and the general condition of the facility
  • If required, identify and implement corrective action plans which may include information gathering and sharing with MDH
  • Follow-up on the resolution of the food safety complaint item(s)