Food Sales or Service

ISU departments/units and other organizations (including recognized student organizations) must adhere to the Iowa Food Code and ISU procedures for food service. Safe food preparation and service is important at all ISU events to prevent foodborne illness.

Guidelines and Requirements

Bake Sales
Grilling on Campus
Food Sales as Part of an Academic Course

General Requirements

To ensure that ISU food sales or service do not conflict with university food contracts and meet health and safety regulations, ISU departments/units and other organizations must obtain approval for sales and/or service of food-related items through the University Event Authorization system.

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 University 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 and safety best practices for temporary food establishments are utilized.

 Food to be sold must be prepared in a licensed kitchen and:

  • Catered by an approved food/beverage vendor, or
  • Prepared on site with University Event Authorization approval, or
  • Meet the requirements of bake sales as discussed below.

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 ISU student and staff general population
  • Sale of pre-packaged foods (bottled water, packages of candy/chips, etc.)
  • Bake sales

Food Handling and Transportation

  • 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.
  • Home kitchens may not be used for preparation of food for a temporary food establishment.
  • Proper food temperatures must be maintained during transport. Transport vehicles are subject to inspection.
  • All food sales and service locations must designate appropriate and separate spaces on site for food preparation, hand washing/sanitation, and food service.
  • Food given away for free at an ISU event must come from an approved Food/Beverage vendor and must be served according to safe food handling practices.

    Bake Sales

    • Potentially hazardous items (including those that require 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 items containing meat, custard, and cream).
    • Bake sale products must be securely wrapped or bagged in ready-to-sell amounts to protect from contamination during display. They also must have a label that identifies:
      1. Common name of the product
      2. Ingredients used
      3. Name and address of the food preparer
      4. 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 approved through the University Event Authorization system.

    Grilling on Campus

    Free cookouts, picnics, or potluck dinners not open to the general public or the general ISU student and staff population are exempt from regular food event approval rules.

    Personal grills are not allowed on campus. ISU has installed stationary grills for student and staff use at various campus locations. Approved events may use commercial grills; however, Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M) must transport all grills to and from campus lawns. Contact FP&M at 515-294-0692 to coordinate. You must also contact FP&M to reserve campus space and to request trash receptacles for food events. 

    Food Sales as Part of an Academic Course

    As part of a course's curriculum or for an assignment in a course, students are not allowed to sell food items on campus, except for pre-packaged food items that are not considered potentially hazardous foods (includes foods that are required to be temperature controlled).

      If a class would like to sell foods that are potentially hazardous and/or processed by the members of the class:

      • The class can partner with a student organization and apply for approval for the event through the online University Event Authorization system.
      • The class can apply for a temporary food license from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. This license requires the food service to be “in conjunction with a single event.” It is not clear if such a license would be granted for class assignments.