Catering, Take-Out, and Personally Prepared Foods Policy

October 2017

In accordance with the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Amherst Board of Health, Amherst College has implemented the following protocols for all events that will include the consumption of food, including catering, take-out and personally prepared foods. This policy is designed to reduce the risk of food borne illness from meals that are improperly prepared, maintained or served. The requirements identified here-in are applicable to faculty, staff, students and anyone using Amherst College facilities, both indoor and outdoor.

All Amherst College scheduled events where food is to be served, must be approved by the appropriate Event Manager, using the proper request form(s) as indicated below. Event Managers might include, but are not be limited to, Registrar’s Office, Room Reservations Office, Summer Programs, Valentine Dining Services and the offices of both Student Affairs and Student Life.

CATERING and CATERED EVENTS

For events being catered, notice must be given to the Event Manager at least 14 days prior to the event, permitting sufficient time to secure permits from the Town of Amherst, to perform the appropriate background check(s) on the caterer/restaurant, and to arrange for the site inspection by the local health department.

-        Please note that many restaurants and other food establishments advertise that they are caterer’s, but do not hold the required catering license or permits, mandated by the Board(s) of Health

If faculty, staff, students or anyone utilizing an Amherst College facility will be hosting an event which is to be catered by a “licensed” caterer other than Valentine Catering, the event organizers shall:

  1. Schedule the event 2 weeks in advance, through the appropriate Event Manager, Room Reservation Coordinator, and/or Student Life
  2. Complete the necessary paperwork, which includes identification of the location, time of the event, and caterer to be used, as well as the types of foods being served.
    • Faculty, staff and other persons utilizing an Amherst College facility, who are hosting an event, shall first contact the Room Reservation Manager of that facility where the event will be located, and make sure the necessary paperwork is completed, including
    • Student groups must contact the Events and Operations Coordinator for Student Life prior to contacting a caterer, and shall complete

    3. The College, through the Office of Environmental Health & Safety and the Amherst Board of Health, will determine if the requested caterer

      • is licensed and approved by the Town of Amherst Board of Health
      • has / or will obtain the necessary Temporary Food Permit, through the town, at a cost of $50.00
      • has the appropriate level of insurance ($1,000,000.00) to serve food at Amherst College.

      4. For catered events where food needs to be kept hot and/or cold, in addition to the above, the licensed caterer shall:

        • remain on site as long as their food is being served,
        • provide a server or on-site manager / designee who is both Food Allergy and Serv-Safe trained
        • maintain appropriate temperatures, both cold (<40 deg F) and hot (>140 deg F), for the duration of the food service,
        • post required signage (8 ½” x 11”) that indicates that the food may contain nuts, dairy, seafood or other potential food related allergens, and
        • be expected to appropriately discard or remove from the site any food that has not been consumed at the end of the event.

        Exceptions

        • If a caterer is delivering food that is not considered potentially hazardous, such as bagels, donuts and coffee etc., they would not be required to remain on site, or serve this type of food.
          • It is the responsibility of the event requester to discard any remaining food / beverage that is not consumed within 1 ½ hours after arrival at the site
          • If items such as cream and milk are left on site for coffee and tea, these items must remain on ice
          • If cheese and/or meat platters, shrimp or similar food is to be served at an event, they must also be kept on ice or refrigerated

        TAKE-OUT FOOD (example: Bakery Items, Grinders, Pizza, Sub’s and other Fast Foods)

        If faculty, staff, students or anyone utilizingan Amherst College facility will be providing food from a local area restaurant (take-out), the event organizer shall:   

        1. Schedule  the event 1 week in advance through the appropriate Event Manager, Room Reservation Coordinator or Events and Operations Coordinator for Student Life, and
          • Complete the necessary paperwork, including identification of the location, time of the event, restaurants from which the food will be obtained, as well as the types of foods being served.
            • Faculty, staff and other persons utilizing an Amherst College facility who are hosting the event shall first contact the Room Reservation Manager of the facility where the event will be located, and make sure the necessary paperwork is completed including
            • Students shall complete and submit the required event notification form 1 week in advance.

        2. Obtain the take-out food from a restaurant that is less than 30 minutes from the event site

        3. Be responsible for picking up the cold or hot food from the restaurant verifying that the temperature has been appropriately maintained, and

        4. Insure that the food (including meats, pizza, salads and dressings) is consumed within 1 ½ hours, from the time of actual pickup

          • any uneaten food must be disposed of at the end of the 1 ½ hour time frame, unless
            • the cold food has been kept at a temperature of <  40 degrees F for the duration of the meal
            • the hot food has been kept at a temperature of > 140 degrees F for the duration of the meal

        PERSONALLY PREPARED FOODS (Faculty, Staff and Students)

        When students prepare food for events on campus, other than those meals cooked and served specifically to residents in their own residence hall Food Preparation for Small Events, they shall:

        1. Register the event 1 week in advance, through the Events and Operations Coordinator for Student Life.
          • The “event” is officially registered after it has been signed for by the Student Activities Office.

        2. Identify an Amherst College faculty member or staff sponsor for the event, to secure the needed resources for the function

        3. Shall not charge or request donations for the food items being served

        4. Shall not prepare or serve potentially hazardous food that include, but may not be limited to meat, poultry, fish, uncooked or partially cooked eggs, mayonnaise, custard, or any foods that would be required temperature control.

        5. Shall have received (in advance) the necessary food and sanitation training, provided by a Serv-Safe qualified person at Dining Services

          • hand washing sinks (with soap and hot water) must be located within 20’ of the food preparation and serving area(s)

        6. Indicate, using a small sign, that the food may contain nuts, dairy, seafood or other potential food related allergens

        POT LUCK MEALS – Massachusetts Regulations

        For additional information on the Amherst College Catering and Take-Out Policy, please contact Environmental Health & Safety or Student Activities Office.