Food Safety


Permanent Food Service Establishments

All plans for new and remodeled food service establishments, including espresso carts, must be submitted and reviewed for approval by EH&S. This also applies to leased facilities, and menu and equipment alterations.

If planning to remodel or construct a new food establishment you must complete and submit two separate applications. First, the Food Establishment Construction and Remodel Application (pdf), then following approval, you must apply for the Food Establishment Permit (pdf).

The later application confirms the facility has met Washington State Department of Health and University food safety standards. Prior to operating, the facility must conspicuously display the Food Establishment Permit to Operate.

For any questions or concerns about this process please call the university public health advisor at 206-543-7209 or 206-616-1623.


Food Service Criteria

All food served to the public at the university must meet the following criteria:

  • Food must be obtained from and processed at approved sources. Restaurants and food stores qualify, but home kitchens do not.
  • Food must be prepared by persons with valid health cards.
  • Food must be processed, transported, stored and served protected from contamination and temperature abuse which allows microbial growth.
  • Bare hands must not touch food which has been cooked or will not be cooked.

Each preparation area must provide the following:

  • Hand-washing facility: encourage staff to wash hands frequently.
  • Sanitizer solution for wiping cloths consisting of 1 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of cool water, or approved equivalent.
  • Food thermometer. A digital thermometer or thermocouple is preferred over a dial thermometer. Monitor temperatures frequently.
  • Leak-proof garbage containers.
  • Restrooms for food workers. Restrooms must have hand sinks with hot and cold running water. Hepatitis A, stomach flu and other illnesses can be spread by food workers who do not wash their hands after using the toilet. Encourage staff to wash hands before returning to food processing.
  • Wastewater must be disposed of into a sanitary sewer, e.g., toilet or utility sink. Disposal of wastewater into storm drains or on the ground is unacceptable.
  • Food processors must wear caps or other hair restraints and use gloves or utensils to touch food.

Transporting and serving food:

  • Food must be prepared in a restaurant in compliance with Public Health Seattle-King County regulations.
  • Hot food must be transported and held at or above 140°F. Cold food must be held below 42°F.
    • Note: If food is transported from a restaurant or commissary, hot food should be 180°F or higher and cold food should be 40°F or below before it leaves the restaurant.
  • Fill the cambros with HOT water 1 hour before putting food in them.
    • Note: Carriers are more effective if food is tightly packed. Loosely packed items with little volume will not stay hot.
    • Note: Cambros are only useful for maintaining temperature. Do not expect them to raise food temperature if its temperature has dropped. Please make sure your food is above 140°F when it arrives.
  • Electric food warmers used for serving must be turned on at least 30 minutes before use. All food warmers work best if hot water is used.
  • Food must be protected from contamination during processing, transit and while on the counter for display.

Temporary Food Service Events

Online Applications for Temporary Food Service Permit are required for the following:

  1. Group events with food provided by a non-University caterer or supplier
  2. Any food sold or given away to the public or general campus community (one form needed for EACH caterer / supplier)
  3. ASUW clubs preparing food (must be done in an approved facility by permitted food handlers)

Submit completed application(s) to EH&S two or more weeks before an event. They may be:

  • Mailed to Box 354400, Seattle WA 98195-4400, Attn: Temp. Food Event
  • Faxed to 206-616-3360

You must also submit the Additional Booth Requirements (pdf) form if the food is prepared or served in a booth. Please read the Food Service Criteria, and ensure you and/or your caterer adhere to the University's food service standards. Due to fire code requirements and food safety issues, please check out Barbecue Focus Sheet (pdf) if you are planning a barbecue.

Call 206-543-7209 or email if you are uncertain how much information to provide or which forms to submit.


Foodborne Illness

If you think you may have acquired a foodborne illness from eating food in a university food service, report it to the University Sanitarian at 206-543-7209. Because of the need for haste, we ask you to phone; a telephone interview will be conducted to discuss the circumstances of your situation.


Foreign Object

If you find an object or substance in your food which should not be there, save the foreign substance and give it to the food service's manager. Also, complete the top portion of a Foreign Object Report (pdf). EH&S will then investigate the object or substance for identity and origin. You may also call the University Sanitarian at 206-543-7209 to report the problem. If the object or substance injured you, ask the manager for an Incident/Accident/Injury Form (pdf) as well. Send the completed form to EH&S at University Sanitarian, Box 354400, Seattle WA 98195-4400; or fax to University Sanitarian at 206-616-3360.

For food quality complaints, contact the food service manager and/or complete a feedback form found in the major food services.