Food Handler Permit class, 6 p.m., West 131
The Food Handler class will be held this Wednesday the 28th at 6 PM in West 131. Attendees should bring a photo ID and $10 (cash) for the course/card fee. The course lasts about 1 hour, followed by a 32-question multiple-choice test.
If more people are interested, there is still plenty of room available.
Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator
The first question for any food event should be WHO is attending. Private events, where attendance is limited to a select group, are exempted from many of the health department rules (this will include most meetings of clubs, committees, boards, department staff, etc.). Events that are open to campus are not considered private. It does not matter how many people attend, if it is open and accessible then it is a public event, and may require permitting.
Second question should be WHAT food is being served. Certain “safe” foods are also exempt. Commercially packaged foods (bags of chips, cans of soda, etc.) are exempt. Some commercially prepared foods are also exempt – primarily baked goods, coffee and tea. Prepared, ready-to-eat foods generally require additional scrutiny. This includes everything from pizza and burgers to turkey and stuffing (even some vegetable trays may be included, if they contain melon or ranch).
Third question should be HOW the food is being served, and this is where Country Gentleman enters the picture. If Country Gentleman is providing serving staff, then the event is covered by their catering license and their food handler cards, and WSU is not required to get a separate permit. If they are not providing serving staff, then the event attendance and menu need to be evaluated to determine whether a permit is required.
A hypothetical example where a food permit would be required: A student organization holds an open house to attract new members. The door is open to anyone interested, and to encourage attendance they order pizzas. The pizza is self-service, available to all attendees. Since the door is open to campus, it is a public event. Pizza is regulated as a perishable food. It’s a small event, so no servers are provided. This would require a temporary food service permit, and at least one person in charge of the meeting would need to have a food handler’s card. The number of attendees, the number of pizzas, and their advertising methods are irrelevant.
Bottom line is, for any event which is considered a “public event” (and again, if it’s open to campus, it’s a public event), and where any perishable foods are being served, someone needs to have a permit and provide certified food handlers. If Country Gentleman is not providing one, then it’s up to WSU to do so. Permits are relatively cheap, provided that they are planned for. They are to be submitted to the health district at least two weeks before the event, after that time the fees increase dramatically.