Obtaining a Food Permit for Your Event

At public gatherings held on University property or within a University owned building, the University of Minnesota Building Code Department (BCD) will need to review safeguards for public health, safety and welfare if at your event you will be:

  • Setting up a tent
  • Adding a stage, platform, or bleachers
  • Providing heat or electricity to a space or cooking food
  • Hosting inside a building not designated for public assembly

Permits and inspection(s) by BCD may be required for these activities. See the Campus Events page to find out if your event will require BCD inspections or permits.

Food Permits

For the protection of students, staff, and the public attending events on the University of Minnesota property, all food  must be prepared in, and/or provided by University of Minnesota Food Service or a licensed commercial food  service, and have the approval of the University Environmental Hygiene Officer (EHO) or designated person.

Individuals are required to submit a University Food Permit Form prior to their event:

  • Five (5) Business Days Prior to Event: when using a commercial food service
  • Ten (10) Business Days Prior to event: when any other sources of food/beverage or type of food service is engaged or dispensed

No home prepared foods are allowed at a permitted event except for those events conforming to all the requirements of:

Food Permit Application Instructions

Applicant information

Completely fill out your name and contact information. An inspector may need to contact you to clarify portions of your application.

Is your event open to the public?

An “open event” is any event or function held on University property, where any member of the general University community can obtain food without being specially invited, or being a member of the group sponsoring the event. However, we strongly recommend that you contact contact the University Environmental Hygiene Officer (EHO) at (612) 625-6152 for help determining if your event is an “open event.”

Number of people expected

Estimate the number of people you anticipate at your event.

Food or beverage served

Describe the exact products you will serving. Be specific. General terms, such as “hors d’oeuvres” or “snacks” are not specific enough to adequately allow the inspector to determine the food safety risk. If you do not know what products you will be serving, finalize your menu before submitting the permit application.


If the food was produced by a caterer or restaurant, state the caterer or restaurant name. If foods were bought from a grocery store or other retailer, state the name(s) of the business from where the food was purchased.

What is hot and cold holding?

Potentially hazardous foods are any foods that require temperature control to keep them safe for human consumption. You need to specify how hot foods will be kept hot, and cold foods will be kept cold. For food delivery and service completed in two hours or less, no hot and cold holding is required

Pizza only events

Use the Pizza Only Event Form (instead of the University Food Permit Form) for events serving only cooked/prepared pizza from a commercial establishment.

Send completed forms to the Environmental Hygiene Officer at [email protected]

Exclusions: When a University Food Permit Is Not Required

A permit is not required for:

  • Events where 25 or less individuals attend
  • Internal University faculty, staff, service unit or office events where the general campus community is not invited (Note: Events open to an entire academic school, department or college are not considered internal event) 
  • Events where all food is prepared by University Dining Service
  • Events where the only foods served are prepackaged and considered non-potentially hazardous by the Minnesota Food Code (canned/bottled beverages, dry baked goods, bagels, breads, cookies, chips, jams, preserves, honey, nuts, dried herbs, packed spices and spice mixes, dry cookie, cake, bread mixes)
    • Potentially Hazardous Foods: Disease causing bacteria grow particularly well in foods high in protein such as meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, cooked vegetables such as beans, and cooked cereal grains such as rice. Because of the high potential for rapid bacterial growth in these foods they are known as "potentially hazardous foods." For what constitutes potentially hazardous foods, see the MN Department of Agriculture Definition.