We evaluate food service establishments by conducting one to three inspections annually, depending the complexity of the establishment’s menu. As needed, we conduct follow-up re-inspections to address issues found in the initial inspection. Following each inspection, we review the results with the food establishment’s management and provide guidance for making corrections and improvements.
Our role as inspectors is not simply to identify problems and suggest corrections. We collaborate with the University’s food service providers to implement food-safety best practices and improve operating efficiency.
All food served to the public on University property in both permanent establishments and temporary food events must meet the following criteria:
- Food must be prepared in an approved kitchen facility in compliance with local health department regulations.
- Home-prepared food is not allowed.
- Food must be prepared by persons with valid food worker cards.
- Food must be prepared, transported, stored and served in a manner that protects food from contamination and temperature fluctuation that would allow microbial growth.
- Bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat food is prohibited.
Each food-preparation area must provide the following:
- Hand-washing facility
- Sanitizer solution
- Food thermometer
- Leak-proof garbage containers
- Restrooms for food workers
- Wastewater disposal
- Protective equipment
- Hot food must be transported and held at or above 135°F. Cold food must be transported and held below 41°F.
- Food must be protected from contamination during processing, transit and while on display.
If you believe you became sick from eating at a University food establishment, please complete the online Foodborne Illness Report/Complaint form and we will follow up within 24 hours.
If you witness possible unsafe food handling practices or unclean conditions at a University food establishment or temporary food service event, please contact us by phone or email.
All reports to EH&S are kept confidential.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) along with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) are regulatory agencies which can issue Food Recalls and Safety Alerts for food products.
The Washington DOH Food Recalls and Safety Alerts webpage narrows the list of recalls/alerts to products that may have been distributed in Washington state/purchased by Washington state residents and which have been recalled during the previous 12 months. You can identify a recalled product by matching details of product name, brand, UPC or product code, and product weight or size with the recall notice details. If your product details don't match the recall notice details then there is no need to be concerned or to take action.
Check the Washington DOH Food Recalls and Safety Alerts webpage to help you verify that your inventory does not contain any of the recalled items. If you find a recalled product in your inventory, dispose of the product following the instructions provided in the recall notice.
Recalls can be precautionary and voluntarily made by companies or required by regulatory agencies. Some of the most common reasons foods are recalled include:
- Testing of the product finds contaminants that could be harmful if eaten
- Disease outbreak investigation traces the illnesses to a particular food
- Product was not properly made according to food processing laws
- Contaminated food ingredient used in many products which leads to multiple recalls
- Product mislabeled, mispackaged, and/or contains an undeclared allergen.
Once a reasonably expected amount of the affected product has been recovered or disposed of in accordance with the recall strategy, a recall will be terminated by the regulatory agency.
EH&S Public Health team communicates directly with food service establishment managers across UW locations to share recall/safety alert information in a timely manner.
If you have questions about recalled products or safety alerts:
- Contact the company who issued the recall/alert. Company information is often listed on the recall/alert news release posted on the FDA or USDA website.
- FDA Food Safety: 888.723.3366
- USDA Food Safety (for meat and poultry products): 888.674.6854