The University of Alabama, Division of Finance and Operations

Food Safety Policy

Unit:  Environmental Health and Safety
Contact: Gene Holcomb
Title:  Assistant Director of Fire and Life Safety
Effective Date: 3/7/2023
Revision Date: 03/07/2023



The purpose of this policy is to inform the University of Alabama ("University") community of requirements related to ensuring an effective food safety program and assist in the prevention of foodborne illness.


The policy of the University is to maintain compliance with federal, state, and local public health rules and regulations to ensure an effective food safety program and to assist in the prevention of foodborne illness. 

Roles and Responsibilities

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

EHS serves as the University liaison to the Tuscaloosa County Health Department (TCHD), coordinates the food safety program, permits and performs inspections of the food service areas listed below, and provides related training and information as needed.  EHS assists the TCHD while on campus during working hours and responds to after-hours requests as needed. 

EHS staff who perform inspections are ServSafe certified and trained to conduct compliance evaluations.  EHS offers ServSafe training and testing for food service workers and managers.

EHS permits and inspects the following locations:  Greek housing kitchens, Capstone Village main kitchen and dining area, Capstone Village Hallmark Manor, and Bill Battle Athletic Performance Center. 

EHS reviews construction design plans that include food service areas for compliance with federal, state, and local public health rules and regulations.  

City of Tuscaloosa

A license is required to operate a business within the City of Tuscaloosa or its Police Jurisdiction.  Information regarding the steps to obtain a business license can be found on the City of Tuscaloosa's website.

Tuscaloosa County Health Department (TCHD)

TCHD permits and inspects the following food service areas on the University campus: Bama Dining Locations, Bryant Conference Center, Judy Bonner Child Development Center, and Mal Moore Dining.

Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue (TFR)

TFR performs code compliance and annual inspections for new businesses and food trucks before a business license is issued. 


Greek Housing

All kitchens in Greek housing are routinely inspected and scored by EHS.  New food service management companies engaged by the Chapter must complete an application for a Food Service Permit Form. In addition, the food service company/kitchen must complete an employee questionnaire each semester using the Employee Information Sheet form. Each food service area/kitchen must have a valid Food Service Inspection Report issued by EHS that is posted in a conspicuous location.  Each location is to be inspected prior to food service beginning each semester. Kitchens are to remain locked when kitchen staff are not present. Further, only kitchen food service staff are allowed in the kitchen. When a permitted kitchen in Greek housing is used to prepare food for an event that is outside of the normal operation of providing meals to members, the kitchen shall be under the supervision of a staff member who has a ServSafe Certification and is employed to operate the kitchen.

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. As required in the Social Events Guidelines, any event with alcohol present shall include some type of alternative non-alcoholic beverage and food items.  It is suggested that the food items are nonperishable, such as chips, individually wrapped snacks, popcorn, etc.  Refer to Catering Events below for more information.

Athletic Event Concessions

Athletic event concessions are permitted through the TCHD.  Each location should have at least one person working who is 21 years of age and the name of the food/beverage vendor’s designated contact is to be posted beside the door in each location readily visible to EHS and/or TCHD.

Time/temperature logs are to be present in all food service areas. Food/Beverage vendors shall not change, alter, or modify the University-provided equipment in any manner, except to comply with TCHD regulations relating to foods cooked on site.

Mobile Food Unit

All Food Trucks must have a current permit from TCHD and business licensure from the City of Tuscaloosa posted.  Food trucks are subject to and require annual Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue (TFR) inspections. 

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 for more information. 

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 TCHD and the City of Tuscaloosa, respectively. In most cases, the caterer will prepare food at an off-site location and deliver and set-up at the event location, which is an acceptable practice if the caterer directs the entire operation up to and including service and consumption.

Any organization hosting an event where food is obtained in exchange for money, including the sale of an entrance ticket or wristband, is required to submit an Exemption For Food Service at a Temporary Event application on the EHS website at least one week (5 business days) in advance of such event. Please note that a separate exemption request must be completed for each event (including events sponsored by philanthropies). 

Any perishable items used at the event shall be disposed of after 4 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.

Practices and Operations

When dealing with the preparation and service of perishable foods, there must be controls in place and the person(s) preparing and serving food must be knowledgeable in general food safety including:
  • Proper cooking time and temperature controls 
  • Effective sanitation practices and control of cross-contamination  
  • Sound personal hygiene practice
  • Understanding of food holding/serving time and temperature guidelines
  • Routine disposal of aged foods 
  • All ice machines must be kept clean and free of debris
If any concerns arise such as a water or sewage leak, food service complaint, equipment malfunction, or any other concern, EHS must be contacted as soon as possible (on call 24 hours a day/7 day a week).

All licenses, permits, and necessary inspections are to be acquired or performed prior to operation on campus and renewed as required. Each food service area/kitchen must post the most recent inspection report/permit in a conspicuous location so that it may be observed by patrons.

ServSafe certification is required for kitchen personnel and the certification must be displayed in the kitchen.

Bake sales of any kind are not allowed on the University campus.


EHS must notify TCHD of any concerns related to public health hazards on campus. Failure to comply may result in shutdown or permission to operate on campus being revoked until all concerns are addressed satisfactorily at the discretion of the reviewing office. All closures by the TCHD will be governed by their rules and regulations. Those areas permitted by EHS will follow the conditions below:
  • Inspection scores of less than 80 will result in the closure of the kitchen until corrections are made and the re-inspection score is 90 or above.
  • Inspection scores of 80-85 will result in a re-inspection within three (3) days.
  • A re-inspection score of 90 or greater is required to retain unrestricted operating status.
  • A time frame for correction of major violations may be established by the inspector. Failure to correct these violations within the established time frame will result in closure until the necessary correction is made and re-inspection criteria are met.
  • Inspections resulting in a restricted operating status or scores of 90 or less will be reported to the appropriate administrative personnel.
EHS can close a food service establishment at any time if deemed necessary to protect public health. A closure may result from a complaint or from a routine inspection, even if an establishment has a passing score.  EHS may determine that an establishment must close in order to allow sufficient time to correct a serious health issue. A serious health issue includes a foodborne illness outbreak, a rodent or insect infestation, a sewage leak, or a lack of power/water. EHS will meet with the facility’s management to discuss and review the closure action and the establishment will not re-open until the health hazard has been adequately addressed.

Tailgating Activities and events governed by Permissive Use Agreements (PUA) are exceptions to this policy.



This policy applies to all food service, preparation, storage, and sales in all areas owned or operated by the University. Such operations include, but are not limited to, residential dining, catering operations, temporary events, athletic concessions, Greek organizations, and other buildings on campus where food is prepared, processed, or released to an individual or group.  

Office of the Vice President of Finance and Operations

Approved by Cheryl Mowdy, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Operations, 03/07/2023