Food at events should be pre-packaged or provided by an approved caterer.

If you have any questions regarding an organizational event with food involved, please contact Margaret Barrett with UA Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at or 205-348-1753. You may also review details on the EHS webpage.

Catering and Events with Food Sales

All caterers must be pre-approved and listed on the University’s Participating Catering list. Review the Outside Vendor Catering Program on the Office of Risk Management’s website for more information.

The Participating Catering list also includes Approved Food Truck Vendors.

Does my Event Require an Exemption Application?

Food Sales

When food is sold, the food must be prepared in a commercial kitchen that holds the appropriate permit and licensure to allow the sale of food. While a commercial kitchen is typically in a fixed location, it can include a mobile unit such as a trailer or truck. The permit and licensure must be specific to either the fixed or portable operation, whichever is applicable.

The sale of food includes events where a ticket is exchanged for a meal, there is an admission charge that includes food as an element of the event and/or charity events where a donation includes food. If a caterer is contracted for an event, the caterer must have the appropriate permit and business licensure as dictated by Tuscaloosa County Health Department (TCHD) and the City of Tuscaloosa, respectively. In most cases, the caterer will prepare food at an off-site location then deliver and set-up at the event location. This is an acceptable practice if the caterer directs the entire operation up to and including service and consumption.

Perishable Items

Any perishable items used at the event shall be disposed of after four hours, unless there is equipment present to hold the food at a suitable hot or cold temperature. The organization should exercise care with perishable items, including, but not limited to, deli sandwiches, pizza, meat and cheese trays, dips with dairy and/or meat ingredients, condiments with warnings, salads, fresh fruit, dairy products, etc. All food items shall be kept in a safe and sanitary location.

My Event Requires Additional Caterers

The Chapter or kitchen staff may engage additional personnel, equipment or a vendor to handle the demand or special menu of an event, but only when the approved kitchen staff is present and authorized to provide supervision.

Exemption For Food Service at a Temporary Event

Any organization hosting an event where food is present and there is any exchange of money, including the sale of an entrance ticket or wristband (i.e., an event where tickets are sold in exchange for entrance and food) even if not stated specifically for food, the applicant must submit an exemption application to EHS at least one week (five business days) in advance.

Once this form is received, EHS will forward it to TCHD. Please note that a separate exemption request must be completed for each event (including events sponsored by philanthropies). Additionally, if food is provided for an event where attendance includes anyone other than University of Alabama students and staff, the chapter must also submit an exemption application for these events at least one week (five business days) in advance. This includes meetings, programs or events where alumnae/alumni are present, as well as any non-UA affiliated attendees and will include Game Day Tailgates this Fall.

No Exemption Form

  • Food is being given away at a free event
  • Not having food at the event

Exemption Form is Required

  • Admission charge that includes food as an element (i.e., buy a ticket or wristband to get into an event with food)
  • Ticket exchanged for food
  • Money exchanged for food
  • Charity event with food donation