Hosting Events with Food

For bake sales, cookouts, special dinners, and other events with food, it is important that the health and safety of all participants is ensured. While handling food at your event, you must follow the guidelines outlined in this section, as provided by PLU Catering. The information has been taken directly from PLU’s Catering website. Due to Health Department regulations and University policy, food and beverage consumed on PLU premises must be provided by Pacific Lutheran University Catering. There are a limited number of circumstances in which outside food may be served. These are outlined below:

For a complete and detailed list of all of this information, as well as appropriate forms and documents needed for approval, you can go to PLU’s Catering website.

Bake Sales

Clubs 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. This form can be found at
Bake sales are an option for clubs interested in raising funds. If a club or organization is holding a bake sale, 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.” A sign is available for download on the PLU Catering website.

Concession Sales

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

  1. Operated by Hospitality Services & Campus Restaurants (aka Dining & Culinary Services)
  2. Operated by Department of Athletics (Olson Auditorium Concession Stand)

These two categories must comply with the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department regulations and have a current copy of the TPCHD permit or courtesy letter on file with Dining and Culinary Services. This courtesy application and further details can be found on PLU’s Catering website at the web address above.


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

    • Student organization, office and department 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 of the PLU community.
    • These events may not be located in spaces that can be reserved through EMS, the campus scheduling system, i.e. 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” (This form can be found on PLU Catering’s website).
    • Alcohol may not be served at these events.

BBQ and Self-Catered Events

Student clubs and 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.

Food Safety Policy

It is the responsibility of the club 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 41 ° F or hot held above 135 ° F. All raw meats must be cooked to the required temperature. Refer to the food worker card manual
    for more information (This can be found on PLU Catering’s website).
  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. 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 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.

Food Worker Card Policy

Clubs and 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 the 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.

For more information regarding additional policies related to hosting your event, such as Fire Safety, Garbage Removal and Cleaning Policy, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department webpage; please visit PLU’s Catering webpage at: https://www.plu.ed/catering/bake-sales-potlucks/

University Catering Services provides catering for campus venues; including outdoor spaces. All food & beverage needs for events scheduled within the Anderson University Center are required to be obtained through Catering Services. More information can be found on Catering Services website at