Food at Events

ISU organizations and departments/units must adhere to State of Iowa Food Code and ISU procedures for food service. Food that is handled or prepared improperly can cause foodborne illness. Safety in food preparation and service is important at all ISU events.

To ensure that ISU food sales or service does not conflict with existing university food contracts and meets health and safety regulations, ISU organizations and departments/units must obtain approval for sales and/or service of food-related items. Student organizations obtain authorization through the Event Authorization system, while ISU departments/units may contact the Office of Risk Management directly ( or 515-294-7711) for assistance with licensing and procedures for food at events.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals has determined that recognized student organizations at Iowa State University may be exempt from licensing requirements when the following conditions are met:

  • The organization sells food, after approval by Event Authorization, once per week or less (and not on two consecutive days)
  • The food sale is on ISU property
  • All sales proceeds go to the recognized student organization and no members benefit personally
  • Hand-washing stations and other health/safety best practices for temporary food establishments are utilized

Foods to be sold must be prepared in a licensed kitchen and catered by an ISU Approved Caterer/Vendor (which includes ISU Dining/Catering) OR prepared on site with Event Authorization Committee or Office of Risk Management approval.

  1. When preparing food on site (burgers, hot dogs, etc.), all food supplies must come from a commercial manufacturer or an approved source. See Temporary Food Service Establishments and Farmer's Market Operator's Guidelines for more information.
  2. Home kitchens may not be used for preparation of food for a temporary food establishment.
  3. During transportation, proper food temperatures must be maintained; transport vehicles are subject to inspection.
  4. All food sales and service locations must provide appropriate and separate spaces on site designated for food preparation, hand washing/sanitation, and food service.
  5. Food given away for free at an ISU event must, however, come from an Approved ISU Caterer/Vendor and must be served according to safe food handling processes.

The above requirements do not apply to the following:

  • Food and beverage for personal consumption
  • Closed events such as departmental gatherings or student organization events for members only
  • Private tailgate parties
  • Cookouts, picnics, or potluck dinners not open for attendance by the general public or by general Iowa State University student and staff populations
  • Sale of pre-packaged foods (bottled water, packages of candy/chips, etc.)
  • Bake sales

Bake Sales

Separate policies & procedures apply to bake sales (cookies, muffins, cakes, etc.):

  • Potentially hazardous items (requiring temperature control) cannot be sold at a bake sale. Products typically suggested for bake sales include breads, cakes, buns, rolls, cookies, bars, and pies (but NOT pies containing meat, custard, and cream).
  • Bake sale products must be wrapped in ready-to-sell amounts to protect from contamination during display and have a label listing the common name of the product, ingredients used, and name and address of the food preparer. Label information should identify the use of common food allergens: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, pecans or walnuts), seafood, soybeans (not refined soybean oil), and wheat.
  • All student organization bake sales must be submitted for approval through the Event Authorization system.

SafeFood 101

Prior to ISU student/campus organization events with food, each person who will prepare or serve the food needs to complete "SafeFood 101" training and quiz. Training is not required for handling prepackaged items (wrapped candy, bottled water, bags of chips, etc.)

Upon completion of training and passing a short quiz, each person receives a "SafeFood 101" card to have available at food events.

Got ServSafe? Skip SafeFood 101...

Anyone with current ServSafe certification may automatically receive a SafeFood 101 card for the current academic year without completing SafeFood 101 training or renewal.

To obtain your card:

  1. Take your ISUCard (or other ID) and your current ServSafe certificate to the Office of Risk Management during business hours.
  2. ORM will keep a copy of your ServSafe certificate on file and will issue you a SafeFood card with an expiration date that matches your ServSafe certification.

Log in to theSafeFood 101 course.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have an ISU NetID, you may log in on the LEFT side of the page (where it says "Returning to this web site?") by using NetID (as username) and password - even if you have not used this site before.

If you do not have an ISU NetID, you may click the "Create new account" button on the RIGHT side of the page to complete your login.

STEP 2: "Enroll" in the course by clicking on the button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen ("Enroll me in this course").
STEP 3: View the video modules in boxes 2 & 3 (for a total of about 25 minutes).
STEP 4: Review the handouts in box 4 (and print or save for your reference).
STEP 5: Complete the SafeFood 101 Quiz by clicking the link in box 6.

After successfully completing the SafeFood 101 quiz, you must obtain a card to show that you are eligible to serve food on behalf of a student organization at Iowa State University.

Please allow two (2) business days after completing your quiz before going to pick up your card.

You may pick up your SafeFood 101 card Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM or Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM at the Student Activities Center in the Memorial Union East Student Office Space. You must present your ISUCard or other photo ID to receive your card. Your card will be valid for the academic year in which you take the SafeFood 101 quiz.

If you have questions, please contact the Office of Risk Management at (515) 294-7711.