On-Campus Food Service Policy

Columbia University prohibits the sale or distribution of foods by any organization including but not limited to student groups, faculty or staff unless the foods are prepared in a kitchen that holds a valid NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH) permit and has culinary staff that possess a NYC Food Handlers Certificate overseeing the overall operation of the kitchen.

Columbia University food service permits are obtained by The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York and are for the use of food service establishments managed and operated by the university such as University Events Management and Columbia Dining.

Purchasing Foods from USL Preferred Vendors

Any foods that are purchased by a student group as described above for consumption in meetings, special events, or other programs must have approval from University Events Management and their student group adviser. View the USL Preferred Vendor List for vendors that accept Purchase Requests as a direct form of payment.

All foods that are purchased for consumption must have documentation stating the following: name of establishment, date and time that the order was placed, items that were purchased, and a signature from the person delivering the food with the time the food was delivered. Such information should be on the receipt, and if not, the student group should ask the establishment to provide such documentation or manually write it on the receipt.

Student groups that choose to purchase foods for such events, must observe the food safety standards as outlined by the NYC DOH in regards to proper time and temperature controls as stated in the NYC food protection guide. It is expected that all foods that are purchased from approved USL vendors are for immediate consumption and are not for resale unless used for purposes as outlined in Section 3 of this policy.

Purchasing Food from a Non-USL Preferred Vendor

Student groups are required to purchase food from an approved USL vendor whenever possible; however in the event that the purchase of food from a non-USL Preferred Vendor is required the following protocol must be followed:

In the event that an organization chooses to purchase food from a non-USL Preferred Vendor, the student group must ask the establishment to provide a copy of the restaurants food service permits and Certificate of Insurance. The establishments’ permits must be submitted to UEM and to the student group adviser prior to making a purchase. Such establishments must have completed and been issued the NYC Department of Business application to become a food service establishment.

Food Service for Fundraising Purposes

Students may engage in fundraising efforts with food products provided they following the following guidelines.  Foods and beverages must be considered dry or canned goods that can be held at room temperature per the manufacturer’s instructions and are permitted to be resold (items that are labeled “not for re-sale” are not permitted.) Such foods must be approved by UEM and an adviser.

Student groups are permitted to prepare baked goods in an establishment that does not have a food service permit, provided that the baked goods do not contain the potentially hazardous ingredients below. All distribution of such goods must receive approval from UEM and their adviser.

Foods that are permitted for sale of fundraising purposes are those that are prepared and purchased from food service establishments that obtain the permits and approvals as stated above, and do not contain potentially hazardous ingredients. Such foods that are consider potentially hazardous include but are not limited to foods that contain: meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, milk products (cheese, butter, milk, heavy cream, etc.), plant proteins such as tofu, starches, peanuts, cooked pasta, cooked beans, potatoes, cut fruits, cut vegetables, etc.

Undergraduate Student Life


505-515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-3612

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.