Reason for Policy
Mount Holyoke College is required by MA Sanitation Laws to regulate the service and sale of food on its campus, to be in compliance with the law. Students and student groups do not have any exceptions under these regulations.
Policy applies to:
- Any food sold to the public, including the general student / faculty / staff population. This includes foods provided at events where there is a cover charge at the door.
- The Policy does not apply to private dinners of small groups of friends or colleagues (e.g. dinner prepared and served in a house kitchenette), student club or cultural house activities that are only for that club or group members and their guests (e.g. the Glee Club has an ice cream sundae party) and the foods are not for sale.
Only Events which are fund raisers for charities or student organization activities are permitted to sell food on campus. No student may sell food products on campus for personal profit.
- Only foods that are not potentially hazardous may be sold or provided.
- Hazardous foods include foods that contain meat, poultry, fish or uncooked or partially cooked eggs (such as mayonnaise or custard, quiche, etc.) or any foods that are required to be heated or cooled to be served may not be sold or provided.
- No student-prepared foods that require heat or refrigeration may be offered. Exceptions to this rule may be made when approved means of heating or refrigeration are available, at the discretion of the Director of Student Programs. Exception possibilities apply to non-hazardous foods only.
- Foods may be prepared in a dorm kitchenette or other kitchen facility. See Procedures for risk factors and use appropriate care in food preparation.
- All ingredients must be listed (or available) for each food product.
- If food has nuts in it, or if it is prepared in conjunction with other foods that have nuts in them, nut warnings must be provided on all the foods, whether they have nuts in them or not. Allergen warnings must be provided on all foods with potential allergens.
- Foods in "factory packaging" are permitted (e.g. Oreo six-pacs), unless they require heat or refrigeration. Exceptions to this rule may be made when approved means of heating or refrigeration are available, at the discretion of the Director of Student Programs (e.g. wrapped frozen ice cream bars served out of an approved freezer). Exception possibilities apply to non-hazardous foods only.
The event must be approved by Student Programs.
Catered events are when a caterer prepares and serves the food.
- Foods served by a local commercial food caterer are subject to catering and contracting rules and must be approved by the Director of Willits-Hallowell (Events Services).
- Willits and Blanchard provide their own catering for private events; due to licensing restrictions outside caterers may not be used at these venues.
- All arrangements for campus facilities should be made through Event Services. Keep in mind when planning your event that some venues are not appropriate for food service.
Groups hosting some events, such as the International Food Fair or some club activities, may purchase food from a restaurant to re-serve to their group. If you are purchasing hot food from a restaurant and re-serving it, you must follow the guidelines below.
- The food should ideally be served within two hours of preparation, as it must be discarded after four (4) hours after preparation if it is not kept at or above 135°F until served or re-heated to an internal temperature of 165°F before serving (reheating is impractical at most events and facilities). This includes travel time; therefore any restaurant used must be within 30 minutes travel distance (max) of the campus.
- Restaurant pickup must be carefully arranged to collect hot food immediately when it is ready at a time just prior to serving that allows compliance with the 4 hour safe handling rule.
- In no case can food be served after 4 hours total (time starting at the completion of initial cooking at the restaurant.) This is part of the Food Code 2005; if the group cannot comply with the safety rules, only non-hazardous foods should be served.
- Temperature is critical for food safety. The same rules apply to "open and hold cold" foods.
- Organizers of large events should identify the 4 hour cut-off for each dish at the food service station, if applicable.
These activities must be arranged and approved through your director of student programs/activities. You must have approval at least two weeks in advance of your event.
If the group or any member of the group becomes aware of any person falling ill from food that has been prepared, served or sold by the group, they must immediately contact the Department of Public Health (413.538.5013) to report the incident. The group and its food sales activities will be investigated by the local public health authority. The group must also notify the College Risk Manager, the Director of Dining Services and the Director of Student Programs.
"Risk factors" refers to improper practices or procedures which have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control as the most prevalent contributing factors of food borne injury or illness. Risk factors include:
- Poor personal hygiene
- Food from unsafe sources
- Inadequate cooking
- Improper cooking temperatures
- Contaminated equipment
Students are expected to follow reasonable food safety practices when preparing food for their fun raising events. Such practices include but are not limited to:
- All persons handling food should completely wash their hands (rub using soap and water for at least 20 seconds before rinising thoroughly) before handling any food. Ingredients should be fresh and have been properly stored.
- All persons must use thermometers to check oven and food temperatures to ensure adequate cooking and proper cooking temperatures.
- All persons must not attempt to cook food in equipment that is inadequate for the task. Make sure all equipment is clean and sanitary before using it.
Additionally, groups should have appropriate materials on hand to package the food. Small zip-lock type bags or plastic food wrap for individual portions is sufficient. Use the same cautions for preparing food when wrapping or packaging food.
Labels should be prepared in advance and should list ALL ingredients in the food. Use commercial food packaging as an example.
In addition to the ingredients label, you must warn buyers of allergens and nuts or nut contamination and add the following language: "This food is made in a home kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department."
The eight (8) major food allergens are as follows:
- Tree nuts (like walnuts or pecans)
- Wheat (this includes gluten)
Allergen warnings must be put on all foods even if the products that carry these allergen risks are listed in the ingredient list. The allergen warning must say:
Warning: this product contains foods that may cause an allergic reaction. This product contains [name allergen(s)].
Remember to check the labels of prepared ingredients that you are using, and include this information in your labels.
Nut warning must be put on:
- Any food containing nuts or nut derivatives (don’t forget almond extract, peanut oil, walnut oil or other nut oils).
- Any food that has been prepared with chocolate or other prepared food that has a nut warning on it (e.g. cookies prepared with M&Ms in them).
- Any food that has been prepared in the same kitchen at the same time foods with nuts were prepared (e.g. one batch of brownies was made with nuts, the other without).
Nut warnings must say:
Warning: This product contains ground nuts or tree nuts or ingredients derived from nuts.
Warning: Nuts. This product was made in the same facility as other products containing nuts or where nuts are handled. (ONLY if there are no nuts directly in the product)
bake sale food
Remember, do not sell any bake-sale food (non-perishable) more than 24 hours after it is prepared.
A sample label for a bake sale item might say:
Chocolate Chip Cookie
"This food is made in a home kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department."
Ingredients: Wheat flour, sugar, butter, vegetable shortening, eggs, chocolate (contains cocoa solids, cane sugar, lecithin, vanilla), pure vanilla extract, salt.
Warning: This product contains foods that may cause an allergic reaction. This product contains wheat, milk products, eggs, and was made in the same facility where products containing nuts were made or where nuts were handled.
Purchasing Food from a Restaurant
If you are purchasing hot food from a restaurant and re-serving it, the food must be re-heated to an internal temperature of 165°F before serving. All foods purchased from a restaurant must be served within two hours of preparation.