Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Food service procedures

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Events serving food

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year food-borne illness causes an estimated 48 million Americans to become ill, 128,000 Americans to be hospitalized, and 3,000 Americans to die. The key contributing factors are poor hygiene, improper food storage, and poor food-handling practices.

To prevent food-borne illnesses originating at PCC events, the college strives to ensure that the environmental health regulations set by the jurisdiction where the food is being served are met by both PCC staff and outside vendors. The service of food to the public at PCC policy describes in detail the requirements for food serving events. Below is a brief highlight of the policy. The frequent situations section also provides information on often-asked questions.

Non-college vendors serving food

Plain and simple, any non-college vendor or entity serving food at PCC must have a current restaurant license from the county where the PCC campus or center is located. Typically, this will be a temporary restaurant license, although the respective county may allow food carts to use their regular license. It is the vendor’s responsibility to work with the respective county to address licensing issues. Non-college vendors must provide a copy of their paid application for a temporary license to Food Services at least 14 days in advance of the event

In addition to a restaurant license, the non-college vendor must adhere to the PCC Facilities Use Rules and Procedures as appropriate. Non-college vendors will also need to show proof of insurance unless otherwise waived by Risk Services.

PCC food services

PCC Food Services is licensed, subject to regulatory inspections, and meet the environmental health regulations set forth by the county of jurisdiction.

Considerations in addition to licenses

In addition to licenses, other measures may need to be put in place to ensure food safety. Oregon Health Authority and County Health departments are changing regulations frequently, please check with the Food and Vending Services managers for current information.

Frequent situations

Our campus club is hosting an event to recruit new members. We’d like to serve pizza to encourage attendance. Do we need a temporary restaurant license?

If you are having PCC Food Services prepare the food then you don’t need a temporary license. If you are ordering pizza from a vendor who will deliver the cooked pizza, and then you have it available for guests then you don’t need a temporary license as long as it is consumed in a two-hour period. If you are picking it up then you will need additional licenses.

Can we hold an event anywhere?

You can hold the event anywhere on campus. If you hold it outside of the PCC dining area you may need to have hand washing stations, sneeze guards, and other appropriate equipment available to ensure food safety. Food Services can help you with this.

Do we have to give advance notice if we’re holding the event on campus?

Yes. Whether you plan on using PCC Food Services or an outside vendor, you will need to complete the Agreement to Serve or Sell Food at PCC. Note that you should send this agreement to Food Services at least 25 days prior to the event in order for it to have time to be approved.

In addition, when using an outside vendor to serve food, they will need to provide PCC Risk Services with proof of insurance at least 25 days prior to the event.

Can we invite non-PCC people to our event on campus?

This can be a little tricky. If the food is being prepared at PCC Food Services, and is being prepared by PCC Food Services staff, and is being served by properly-trained PCC faculty, staff, or students, then there typically won’t be any difficulties. Nonetheless, contact Food Services at least 25 days in advance so they can work out any details with you.

If you plan on using an outside vendor to prepare and serve food, then they will need to follow the guidelines for non-college vendors serving food. Contact Food Services and Risk Services at least 25 days in advance so they can work out the details with you.

What if we hold a members-only private event?

First, contact Food Services. Your definition of “private” may not be the county’s definition. We must abide by the county’s definition. For college departments, purchasing rules must also be followed. The vendor will need to adhere to the PCC Facilities Use Rules and Procedures as appropriate and will still need to provide PCC Risk Services with proof of insurance.

You must be really careful when planning “private” events. You will be responsible to ensure only members or specific invitees are allowed at the event.

Can we make something to eat at home and serve it at PCC?

No. If you serve food at a public event at PCC, it must be prepared in a licensed establishment. It can then be served “ready-to-eat.” This is the case when buying pizza from a restaurant and serving it as prepared. If not prepared at a licensed establishment it cannot be served at PCC without a temporary restaurant license.

So we can’t have a potluck?

This is where the nuance comes in. If you are having a potluck with your immediate work group, and not advertising it to others at the college, then you don’t need a temporary restaurant license. However, if you post flyers or otherwise advertise and “invite” others to join then you may need the license. Intent is very important.

Also keep in mind that food-borne illnesses can spread from potlucks. Basic food handling precautions should still be followed. These include keeping foods at proper temperatures and having handwashing facilities nearby.

Do we need to have guests sign a roster if they attend our event?

For private events, yes. This will help show that you only allowed members and specific invitees to attend the private event.

For public events, it’s not required that you have guests sign a roster. Should a food-borne illness outbreak occur that may have been related to the event, public health officials will follow up with the college to assist in their investigation.

If there is a food-borne illness outbreak traced back to the college, are we liable?

Perhaps. PCC is expected to comply with all regulations related to food service. If we’re not compliant then it can be very easy to make the case that the college is liable to some extent for the outbreak. Thus, it is important that the PCC food serving procedures be followed.

Even if all regulatory procedures are followed, food-borne illness outbreaks can and do occur. PCC may or may not have some liability. Our guiding principle must be that we did, and do, everything reasonable to prevent outbreaks. These reasonable measures include adhering to licensing requirements, ensuring that properly-trained food handlers prepare and serve food, obtaining proof of insurance from outside vendors, and providing adequate hygiene facilities.

Food-borne illness outbreaks generally garner media attention. When that happens we want to be able to show we exercised diligence in taking all reasonable measures to prevent it.