Food Safety Program

The Food Safety Program ensures UW dining facilities meet the highest standards in food safety, and protects the public from foodborne illness.

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) oversees food-related activities at all UW locations, including the UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, UW Bothell and UW Tacoma through a comprehensive food safety program. This includes permanent food establishments and temporary food service events.

Permanent food establishments

We issue permits and regularly inspect all UW permanent food facilities, restaurants, stores, cafeterias, mobile food facilities, and catering services to ensure they maintain the standards of safe food handling and cleanliness set forth in the Washington State Retail Food Code.  

Temporary food service events

Temporary event organizers are responsible for ensuring their food vendors are aware of our requirements.

Please visit the Temporary Food Service Permit webpage for more information on obtaining permits for your special events.

Dos and don'ts of safe food handling

This training video helps UW food workers keep our campus safe and healthy, and prevents the spread of foodborne illness. Food managers, student and classified employees at campus dining locations, as well as anyone who cooks or handles food (that’s you!), can benefit from these tips.

[This video includes sound]

Factors that increase your risk for food poisoning

Anyone can get food poisoning, but certain groups of people are more likely to get very sick from food poisoning. If you have one of these factors, your body may not be able to fight germs and sickness as effectively.

Aged 65 and oldertwo older people in a circle

As people age, their immune systems and organs don’t recognize and get rid of harmful germs as well as they once did, which increases the chance they’ll get sick from food poisoning.

Younger than 5two young children in a circle

Young children’s immune systems are still developing, so their body’s ability to fight germs and sickness isn’t as strong. Food poisoning can be particularly dangerous for them because illness can lead to diarrhea and dehydration.

Weakened immune systemdoctor and patient in a circle

Having a weakened immune system may make it harder to fight germs and sickness effectively. Weakened immune systems may be due to diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, alcoholism, HIV, autoimmune disorders such as lupus, or receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Pregnancytwo pregnant people in a cirlce

If you are pregnant, you are more likely than other people to get sick from certain germs.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Food Safety webpage for more information including a guide to safer food choices for higher risk individuals.

Services available

EH&S provides the following services:

  • Food safety and sanitation inspections of food establishments, including food vendors at intercollegiate athletic events
  • Temporary food service permits for public events on campus
  • Regulatory compliance plan review, interpretation and recommendations for new and remodeled food service establishments, and pre-opening inspections
  • Food-related complaint investigation and follow-up

EH&S conducts more than 500 food service inspections each year, including the medical centers, athletic event concession stands, day care centers and restaurants across the three campuses, keeping University staff, faculty, students, patients and visitors safe from foodborne illnesses.

Food Establishment Plan Review

EH&S conducts food establishment plan reviews to ensure that the establishment meets state and federal regulations. All plans for new and remodeled food service establishments must be submitted to EH&S for review and approval. This applies to leased facilities, major equipment alterations, and mobile units, such as espresso carts.

Please also visit our Facilities Projects Support page for more information.

Frequently asked questions

More Information


Environmental Public Health Contact

(206) 616-1623