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Health and Safety Guide




    Food is stored, prepared, and served on campus in a variety of ways and under the direction of a number University departments and groups. Under certain established protocols, catering firms from outside the University community are also permitted to provide food service on campus. Except when food is prepared by an individual or group for their own use, those handling food which is intended for consumption by others have a responsibility to provide a wholesome product and follow established regulatory requirements and acceptable sanitary standards that will prevent the potential for food borne illness.

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Scope and Application

    This program applies to all University departments and organizations whenever food is stored, prepared, and served on campus for other than personal use.

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Program Description

    The University Sanitarian conducts periodic inspections and provides consultation and training for ongoing University food service activities, such as the Department of Dining Services operations and student food service activities and for periodic events where food service is involved, such as Communiversity. When reports of suspected food borne illness or food adulteration are received, the University Sanitarian conducts an investigation to identify possible causes and to prevent further illness or recurrence of conditions or practices that resulted in illness.

    Food Service Events

    Anyone planning an event at which they will be preparing and serving food should contact the University Sanitarian to ensure that the appropriate licensing and regulatory requirements are met and that proper food safety practices are discussed with those involved.

    Critically important aspects of food safety which are usually discussed include:

    • Potentially hazardous foods* must be handled with strict attention to temperature control. Cold food must be held at 45°F or below and hot foods above 140°F to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
    • All food handlers need to wash their hands frequently and practice good personal hygiene. Disposable plastic gloves should be worn and utensils used to limit the contact of foods with bare hands.
    • Potentially hazardous foods need to be thoroughly heated to destroy pathogenic bacteria that may be present, i.e. ground beef to 155°F; pork to 150°F (in microwave to 170° F); poultry, stuffed foods, and reheated foods to 165° F; and other foods to a minimum of 140°F.
    • Potentially hazardous foods needing to be cooled for storage must be chilled quickly to below 45° within a minimum of 4 hours by use of stirring, ice water baths, small and shallow portions placed in refrigerator or freezer.
    • Food on display needs to be protected from the elements and from patron contamination by being covered, wrapped or shielded.

    "Potentially Hazardous food means any food which consists in whole or in part of milk or milk products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, edible crustacean, raw seed sprouts, heat treated vegetables and vegetable products, or other ingredients, including synthetic ingredients, in a form capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic organisms, excluding foods with pH of 4.6 or below or water activity (aw ) value of 0.85 or less."

    Requirements for Caterers from Outside the University

    If foods are being catered from outside the University, the catering firm must provide the following:

    1. Commercial General Liability insurance, to include products liability for bodily injury and property damage in an amount not less than $2,000,000 per occurrence, single limit, naming "The Trustees of Princeton University and its Officers, Employees and Agents" as additional insured's and stating that the insurance is PRIMARY AS TO ANY OTHER VALID AND COLLECTIBLE INSURANCE.
    2. Automobile Liability Insurance covering bodily injury and property damage of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence, combined single limit.
    3. Statutory Workers’ Compensation with an Employer’s Liability limit of at least $500,000.

    Coverage shall be underwritten by a carrier licensed in New Jersey and rated at least "A-" in Best's Key Rating Guide. Evidence of insurance, along with a current Food Service Licence and Inspection Placard, must be received in the Office of Risk Management AT LEAST 30 DAYS PRIOR to the event or function.

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Roles and Responsibilities


  • Ensure food service functions are provided under the appropriate regulatory requirements, licensing, and University guidelines.


  • Conduct inspections of University food service facilities and activities and assist in ensuring that proper licensing is obtained and renewed as required.
  • Provide consultation and training in food protection principles.
  • Participate in plan review for new and renovated facilities.
  • Investigate suspected cases/outbreaks of food borne illness or food adulteration.
  • Act as a liaison with the local and State health agencies on food regulatory issues.
  • Confirm appropriate licensing and inspection documents are provided by outside caterers.

Risk Management

  • Confirm appropriate liability insurance provided by outside caterers.
  • Maintain a list of approved caterers in conjunction with EHS.

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For More Information

Contact the University Sanitarian at 258-5294.

Questions regarding the requirements for outside caterers should be directed to the Office of Risk Management at 258-3349 or 258-3046.

Links to other food-related web sites are available here. The following resources are available through EHS:

Guidelines for Temporary Food Service on Campus

  • New Jersey State Sanitary Code, Chapter XII Sanitation in Retail Food Establishments and Food and Beverage Vending Machines.
  • A variety of audio/visual and written training materials and programs.

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