Five College Consortium

Five College Risk Management

Guidelines for Student Group Food Handling & Serving

Careful attention needs to be paid to the handling of food before, during, and after preparation to make sure it is safe for consumption. These guidelines apply to student groups who are serving foods within the group or within a group of friends. Any sales of food must comply with local and state sanitation laws, rules, and regulations.

Hampshire Dining Services can provide assistance.

If your group is not purchasing food prepared by a licensed vendor, like Sodexho, Sibies, etc., and you are planning to prepare high-risk foods to serve (see below), make an appointment to discuss options with the Hampshire College Dining Services Director. This does not mean you will have to order your food through Sodexho; it means that you will have advice from a food service professional about the safety of your plan. Make a plan with the director for purchase, any preparation, holding and serving that will make every effort to keep food safe for consumption and communicate this plan to anyone who will be responsible for implementing this event and involved in the food preparation and service.

"Risk Factors" means 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 and serving food for their student group events.

All persons handling food should completely wash their hands (rub using soap and water for at least 20 seconds before rinsing thoroughly) before handling any food.

Ingredients should be fresh and have been properly stored. 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.

Use thermometers to check oven and food temperatures to ensure adequate cooking and proper cooking temperatures.

Do not attempt to cook food in equipment that is inadequate for the task. Make sure all equipment is clean and sanitary before using it.

The eight (8) major food allergens include:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (like walnuts or pecans)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat (this includes gluten)
  • Soy

Packaging and Labeling: (The packaging of food would apply mainly to Mixed Nuts, but labeling foods for ingredients and allergens could apply to all cooked food being served, such as a pot luck meal.)

  • Have appropriate materials on hand when packaging food. Zip-lock type bags or plastic food wrap for small portions is sufficient. Use the same cautions for preparing food when wrapping or packaging food.
  • Labels should be prepared in advance that list ALL ingredients in the food. Use commercial food packaging as an example.
  • In addition to the ingredients label, you must warn 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").

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 product/s).
  • Remember to check the labels of prepared ingredients that you are using, and include this information in your labels.

Nut Warnings 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 was 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. OR

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.)

Sample Label:

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.