Bake Sales, Potlucks, Class Projects and Self Catered Event Policy

Due to Tacoma/Pierce County Health Departments regulations and University Policy, food and beverage consumed on premise must be provided by Pacific Lutheran University Catering. There are a limited number of circumstances in which food does not have to be provided by Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) Catering. These are outlined below:

Bake Sales and Class Projects

Students or organizations wishing to hold bake sales must submit a Notification of Bake Sale form to PLU Catering at least two weeks in advance of the sale.

PLU Clubs, Organizations and Students participating in class projects related to marketing/entrepreneurship may hold bake sales with homemade baked goods that do not require temperature control. The items must be prepared and individually wrapped in a sanitary manner. A clearly visible sign at the point of sale must read, “Food was prepared at a kitchen that is not inspected by the Health Department,” download a PDF here.

Concession Sales

Concession sales are only allowed on the PLU campus if they fall into one of these categories:

  • Campus concessions are operated by Campus Restaurants retail branch must comply with Tacoma Pierce County Health Department regulations for operating a temporary food booth. A current copy of the TPCHD permit or courtesy letter must be on file withCampus Restaurants. A courtesy application can be submitted online to the Pierce County Health Department.
  • Operated by Department of Athletics (Olson Auditorium Concession Stand) – Olson concessions are operated by Department of Athletics and complies with all Tacoma Pierce County Health Department Regulations regarding the sale of menu items. A current copy of the TPCHD permit is kept on file with Campus Restaurants..


Potlucks and small group gatherings with user supplied food are acceptable in the following situations:

Note: No alcohol can be served or consumed at any on campus event unless an approved Application for Campus Event with Alcohol is on file with CEVT and PLU Catering is providing food and non alcoholic beverages for the event and alcohol and service of alcohol are contracted with 208 Garfield.

  • Student organization, office, and departmental functions for students, staff, administrators, and faculty of Pacific Lutheran University.
  • These events must be private and may not be advertised or open to the general public and may not include participation from members outside the PLU community.
  • These events may not be located in spaces that can be reserved through R25, the campus scheduling system, ie must be held in departmental offices or suites.
  • These events must be for groups of less than 25 attendees.
  • Recycling and waste from these events must be removed from the event space at the end of the event by the event planner/sponsoring club/organization/department.
  • A clearly visible sign must read, “Food was prepared at a kitchen that is not inspected by the Health Department,” download a PDF here.
  • Alcohol may not be served at these events.

BBQ and Self-Catered Events

Student organizations that choose to cater and serve their own private event must fill out a Request for Self-Catered Event at least two weeks prior to the event. All parties must comply with the following policies for their safety and the safety of their guests. If you have any questions about the requirements of compliance, please contact the Catering office prior to planning your food event. These policies are mandatory. If you do not think you will be able to comply with these policies at your food event, then you must have your event catered by PLU Catering.

Note: No alcohol can be served or consumed at any on campus event unless an approved Application for Campus Event with Alcohol is on file with CEVT and PLU Catering is providing food and non alcoholic beverages for the event and alcohol and service of alcohol are contracted with 208 Garfield.

Food Safety Policy

It is the responsibility of the student or organization that runs the event to ensure that PLU students and the community at large are provided with a safe eating environment, and are protected from foodborne illness.

  1. A metal stem or digital thermometer must be on site. Perishable foods must be refrigerated below 41ºF or hot held above 135ºF. All raw meats must be cooked to the required temperature. Refer to the food worker card manual for more information.
  2. A hand washing station must be on site. At least five gallons of potable water in a container with a spigot, (separate from that used for utensil washing) from which clean water can be drawn for each use without holding tap open and a catch pan. Please download this handout for more information regarding setting up a temporary hand wash station. Disinfecting hand soap and single-service paper towels are also required. Hands must be washed after using the restroom or smoking, before starting or returning to work and at regular intervals while handling food. Instant hand sanitizers are not replacements for hand washing.
  3. All food and utensils must be stored off the ground and protected from dust and contamination.
  4. Condiments should be labeled and kept in covered containers.
  5. Unacceptable materials for storage and cooking: enamel-coated pots, copper, tin can, and cardboard. Acceptable: glass, stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, and plastic.

Fire Safety Policy

  1. When any type of cooking/heating is taking place (i.e. BBQ, hot plate, deep fat fryer, Sterno gel fuel, open flame cooking equipment):
    • Every cooking location must have a dry chemical ABC fire extinguisher on site (specifically: classification 3A40BC extinguisher). Electrical equipment must be plugged directly into an outlet or into a plug strip, extension cords are not permitted.
  2. When utilizing a propane gas cylinder, the cylinder must be located at least 5 feet from a structure (i.e. booth, tent, pop-up tent, building), not blocking an emergency egress route and secured from falling over (i.e. tied down, placed in propane tank holder, or bracket).
  3. A maximum one 20 pound cylinder allowed at any time.

PLU Catering can provide a Self Catered Kit for use at your event. It includes all of the required equipment that you will need to meet the requirements for food and personal safety. Use of this kit is free of charge. However, if not returned within 3 business days, a $100 fee will be assessed to the organizing group. It includes:

  1. Hand washing station
  2. Sanitizer bucket, sanitizer and bar towel
  3. Metal stem thermometer

Garbage Removal and Cleaning Policy

It is the responsibility of the student or organization that runs the event to ensure that the area is completely cleaned after the event. A cleaning fee of $75 will be charged to any group/organization that does not follow through with garbage removal or cleaning requirements.

  1. Each booth must have one garbage can for patron use and also must provide containers for the disposal of refuse from the cooking area.
  2. All garbage must be removed by the organizing party at the end of the event.
  3. The cooking/serving venue must be  completely cleaned by the organizing party following the event.

Food Worker Card Policy

Groups or organizations must identify at least one constituent that will be certified (by the state of Washington) to handle food, this is a mandatory requirement for students, staff and faculty members to self-cater events. These constituents must take an online course and pass an exam to be certified by Tacoma Pierce County Health Department.  Additionally, any person preparing or serving food must have a valid food worker’s card prior to the event. Copies of valid food worker cards must be submitted to the Catering office within 7 days of the event. To take the online class please visit Tacoma Pierce County Health Department website. There will be a $10.00 fee associated with this course and payment is made via credit card on the website. Certification is immediate and is valid for 2 years from date of issue.

Please review the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department webpage referencing the requirements to operate for temporary events.
Tacoma Pierce County Health Department Guidelines for Events at Schools