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Food Safety

When food is sold or given away by a university organization to persons outside its immediate membership, full compliance with California Retail Food Code is required.

The sponsoring organization (including UC Merced registered clubs and organizations) of a campus event must obtain a temporary food permit from EH&S (Environmental Health and Safety) and The Office of Student Life (OSL) when: 

· The food/beverage service at the event is not handled by an approved UC Merced caterer; and 

·  Perishable foods will be on the menu

Procedure for obtaining a temporary food permit

· First, you must have signature authority (authority to sign for your department's, club's or organization's activities) for your organization to apply for a temporary food permit. Temporary Food Permit Request Form. Submit all temporary food permit applications to EH&S and OSL.

· Large Event Organizer Application

· Next, you will need to reserve your space through the appropriate campus department. You must obtain a reservation before applying for the permit.

· Finally, you will need to take “Food Safety Training For Campus Groups” offered by OSL. The course is held at the beginning of each semester in the Office of Student Life. Please contact OSL at 209-228-5433 or email at to schedule a training session for your group.

· Please refer to some useful documnets/guidelines during an event which can be found on the bottom of the page. 

· If any further questions please contact EH&S at 209-228-2255. 

A temporary food permit is not required when:

· Only non-perishable food/beverage items will be served. Only food and beverage items listed in (Table-1, which can be found at OSL & EHS Temporary Event Guidelines) in the temporary food permit procedure are considered non-perishable foods.

· The sponsoring organization uses an approved UC Merced Dining Services Caterer for its event.

·  A campus office, department or service unit hosts an intra-departmental event within its own facilities (staff meeting, intra-departmental birthday celebration, etc.)

· A campus student service organization hosts an event within its own house that only house members will attend. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

When do I need a food permit?

· You will need a temporary food permit when you are serving perishable foods at your event (see osl_ehs_guidelines_temporary_food_event.docxand you are not using a UC Merced-approved caterer. Each temporary permit is issued for a single event. The UC Merced sponsoring organization must apply for a new permit each time it schedules a new event. Exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

· Upon final approval, OSL will issue the approved permit to the sponsoring group's representative via e-mail.

Large Scale Events

All large scale events on Campus must submit an Event Organizer Application to EH&S 2-3 weeks before an event. 

Non-UC Affiliated Events

· For non-UC affiliated (sponsored by UC Merced) events held on campus property, such as vendor fairs, cultural fairs or sports clinics, the appropriate scheduling office refers the event's sponsor to EH&S to obtain the appropriate permits before booking the reservation request.

Still have questions?

· If you still have questions or feedback, contact OSL at 209-228- 5433 or by email at

· Any further questions about the temporary food permit application should be directed to Jim Greenwood at 209-228- 2582.

Table 1. Classification of Non-Perishable Foods

Bakery products

Cakes, pies, and cookies

Dehydrated food products

Jerkey, dried fruits, jams/jellies, trail mixes etc.

Raw fruits and vegetables

Most raw fruits and vegetables (see exceptions in table 2)

Non-dairy products

Non-dairy creamers

Milk and ice cream

For the purpose of the temporary food permit, milk, real whipped cream/dairy toppings and ice cream will be considered non-perishable. Keep cold while serving.

Snack foods

Chips, raw or dehydrated fruits/vegetables, candies, pizza served at meetings


Table 2. Classification of Perishable Foods

Meat and poultry products

Beef, pork, lamb, mutton, veal, venison, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, pigeon, etc., as well as pizza served at a fundraising event

Animal-based byproducts

Gravies/soups/broth made from animal stock or containing animal products

Fish/seafood products

All types of fresh or saltwater finfish, mollusks (squid, octopus, etc.), crustaceans (crab etc.), and shellfish (mussels, clams, oysters, etc.)

Egg products

From any animal that produces eggs for human consumption: e.g. chicken, duck, goose

Milk- and egg-based byproducts

Foods that contain milk products or egg products, including dry (powdered) egg concentrates (e.g. eggbeaters) after water is added to product, and such items as custards, cheesecake, etc.

Soy products

Tofu and other soy products (soy milk etc.)

Raw fruits and vegetables

Raw seed sprouts (bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, etc.) and cut melons

Cooked legumes, grains and vegetables

Beans, rice, pastas and other cereal grains; most vegetables, especially baked potatoes because they become perishable after they are cooked




Useful Documents 

UCM General Guidelines for Food Safety 

Quick Food Safety Checklist 

Time As a Public Health Control Document 


Information Resources 

California Retail Food Code

Federal Food Safety Site

FDA's listing of food recalls, withdrawls and safety alerts

USDA's Food and Inspection Service