University Wide Food Policy

March 20, 2019

This policy is effective July1st, 2019

Due to health safety concerns, all food served on campus must be furnished by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln contracted food caterer or from the list of approved food providers (maintained by Risk Management and the Nebraska Unions). Approved food providers must have a Lancaster County Health Certificate and appropriate liability insurance, as determined by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance. Food providers interested in being added to the list can email their Certificate of Insurance to

This policy relates to the entire University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus with the exception of classes taught by Campus Recreation within their facilities or any Academic Classes.

Since different University Facilities may have exclusive catering contracts, whether a group is allowed to bring in food from a non-University contracted caterer will depend on the policy of the facility where the meeting/events is being held. Some facilities or Academic Classrooms may not allow food at all. Groups reserving these spaces will be required to follow the Facilities sub-food policy.

It is not the intent of such a policy to prohibit anyone from “brown bagging” for personal consumption or prevent informal office luncheons within the department’s office space.

Time/Temperature Control foods should not be exposed to the danger zone, Temperature danger zone is from 41°F to 135°F (the range in which rapid growth occurs), for more than 4 hours total; including time spent in preparation, cooling and reheating. Food that has been in the danger zone for more than 4 hours needs to be discarded immediately. It is not allowed to be removed from the event venue. The four hours begins when the food is picked up from or delivered by the food provider.

Depending on the event and the food being purchased, additional event insurance may be required by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Risk Management office.

Grill Outs

Groups wanting to grill out may only serve pre-cooked hamburgers and/or pre-cooked hot dogs and use a propane/gas grill. Any other grilled food or charcoal grills are not allowed. All other food items need to be provided by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln contracted caterer or an approved food provider.

Bake Sales

Bakes Sales may be held on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus by Recognized Student Organizations to raise funds in support of organizational activities. The following guidelines apply:

  1. An Event Planning Registration Form (EPR) needs to be completed with Student Involvement.
  2. Food that is not time/temperature control for food safety such as:
    • Baked goods – rolls, breads, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, pies (non-dairy base filling), homemade granola product, etc.
    • Dairy based baked goods containing custard, creams, meringues or cheesecakes are not allowed.
    • Canned soda/pop, must be Pepsi products. This includes bottled water.
    • Commercially packaged snack items, such as candy bars and chips
  3. A clearly visible placard is required at the sales location stating the food was prepared in a kitchen that is not inspected or licensed by the regulatory authority.
  4. All food must be individually wrapped and labeled as to the product identification and price. Items must be displayed and stored off the floor/ground and must be covered at all times.
  5. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires that food labels must clearly identify the food source names of any ingredients that are one of the major food allergens or contain any protein derived from a major food allergen. The eight foods identified by law are: milk, eggs, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod), crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans), peanuts, wheat and soybeans. These items should be clearly marked on products. It is particularly important to review ingredients when using boxed mixes where trace ingredients may be hidden.
  6. Bake sale items will be prepared with ingredients purchased from commercial sources (grocery stores, warehouses, bakers, etc.) and customary home sanitation practices should be observed in food preparation.
  7. It is recommended that certain organizational representative(s) who are present throughout the bake sale be designated to only handle the food items taking the necessary precautions to sanitize beforehand.
  8. Groups conducting bake sales must agree to hold the University of Nebraska-Lincoln harmless in the event of any legal action resulting from the bake sale.

Further information regarding food safety can be found in the Focus on Food Safety publication by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture

Eating Competitions

Due to the health and safety concerns associated with eating contests (food or liquid), these types of competitions are not supported by the University. This includes any contest or competition where speed or volume consumption of food/beverage is the objective.

List of Approved Caterers