Environmental Health & Safety

Catering and Take-Out Policy


February 2013

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 catered and take-out fare. 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 this policy are applicable to faculty, staff, students and anyone using Amherst College facilities.

This policy applies to the following types of events:

  1. Catered events (using a caterer licensed by the Town of Amherst),

  2. When take-out food is acquired from a local restaurant (which must be less than 30 minutes from event site), and

  3. Events where food is being prepared by someone other than the food preparation staff from Amherst College Dining Services.

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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 include, but may not be limited to, Registrar’s Office, Room Reservations Office, Summer Programs, Valentine Dining Services and the offices of the Dean of Students. For events being catered, notice must be given to the Event Manager at least 14 days prior to the event, to permit enough time to secure permits from the Town of Amherst, to perform the appropriate background check on the caterer or restaurant, and to arrange for the site inspection by the local health department.

Catered Events

  • 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:
    • schedule  the event, 2 weeks in advance, through the appropriate Event Manager, Room Reservation Coordinator, or Student Activities
      • 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 others 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 the Food Protection Questionnaire  for Catered Events, which is to be completed by the caterer.
        • Student groups must contact the Student Activities Office prior to contacting a caterer, and shall complete the Event Notification Form, and shall provide the caterer with a copy of the Food Protection Questionnaire for Catered Events for completion.
        • 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.
    Catering
  • 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 Serv-Safe trained,
    • maintain appropriate temperatures, both cold (<40 deg F) and hot (>140 deg F), for the duration of the food service,
    • post 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

Local Restaurant Take-Out

Pizza
  • If faculty, staff, students or anyone utilizing an Amherst College facility which needs to be reserved and will be providing food from a local area restaurant (take-out), the event organizer shall:   
    • schedule  the event 1 week in advance through the appropriate Event Manager, Room Reservation Coordinator,  or Student Activities Office, 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 an 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 the Food Protection Questionnaire  for Catered Events
        • Students shall complete and submit the Event Notification Form to the Student Activities Office1 week in advance of the event
  • obtain the take-out food from a restaurant that is less than 30 minutes from the event site
  • be responsible for picking up the cold or hot food from the restaurant, to verify that the temperature has been appropriately maintained, and
    • 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

Food Prepared by Students

  • When students prepare food for events on campus, other than those meals cooked and served specifically to residents in their own residence hall, they shall:
    • register the event, 1 week in advance, through the Student Activities Office. The “event” is officially registered after it has been signed for by the Student Activities Office.
    • identify an Amherst College faculty member or staff sponsor for the event, to secure the needed resources for the function
    • not charge or request donations for the food items being served
    • 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.
    • 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)
  • indicate, using a small sign, that the food may contain nuts, dairy, seafood or other potential food related allergens

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