Event Permit Procedures

 Ensuring safe and compliant campus events.

Special Event Requirements for Registered Student Organizations

The Office of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) is responsible for permits and inspections of campus events at which food is served to the public. In accordance with the California Retail Food Code, Registered Student Organizations can hold up to four designated Community Events where food is served to the public per calendar year. Examples of designated Community Events at UC Berkeley include Caltopia, Calapalooza, Golden Bear Orientation, East Asian Union Night Market, Taste of Berkeley, Superb concerts, and other cultural events. 

Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) that wish to offer food at public events (e.g., bake sales) must follow the procedures listed below to protect the health of the community and to meet the California Retail Food Code requirements for Nonprofit Charitable Organizations (113841-11384).

Glossary & Other Resources

Food at Public Events

Procedures for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs)

  1. RSOs may only offer food to the public at designated Community Events, not to exceed 4 events per Academic Calendar year beginning Summer 2024. See exceptions for Bake Sales and pre-packaged food.
  2. Community events will only be approved by EH&S, with input from the ASUC Executive Director.
  3. Tabling on Sproul Plaza is not deemed a Community Event.
  4. Community events can be hosted by one or more student organizations.
  5. The Community Event must have a theme or a title that identifies the type of event and helps establish the “community nature” of it, and the benefit to the campus community.
  6. The Community Event must have a designated Event Coordinator.
  7. APPROVAL: The Event Coordinator must obtain approval from EH&S to hold the event:
    1. The Event Coordinator applies for an event permit from EH&S
      • The application is due at least 30 days prior to the event date(s). 
      • The Event Coordinator will provide a list of all participating RSOs in the event permit application.
    2. After the Event Coordinator submits the initial permit application, the participating RSOs submit their own permit application for the event which will describe the food service details.
  8. For events that are governed by the ASUC or Event Services, they must approve the Community Event as well.

  9. TRAINING: Event Organizers, and students from participating RSOs that will handle and serve food, must complete EH&S training:

    1. EHS 509 - Food Handler Basics

    2. EHS 510 - Special Events Food Safety Training (Covers operating a Temporary Food Booth)
    3. For those using the UC Learning Center for the first time, please email ehstrain@berkeley.edu to request access to the site.
  10. Food offered by the participating RSOs at Community Events must meet the following requirements:
    1. Food to be served by the RSO students must be purchased from a licensed, permitted, commercial food establishment on the day of the event, immediately prior to the event.
    2. Students may prepare food themselves at the event (following the guidance in EHS 510 training)
    3. Baked goods may be prepared at home following the EH&S Bake Sale Guidelines.
    4. Students may purchase food prepared by a local food establishment for purposes of serving the food only. Food should only be purchased from facilities that are within a 30-minute drive from the event.
    5. Student organizations MAY NOT bring an outside food vendor to the event who intends to prepare food at the event, unless that food preparation is done in a catering kitchen (e.g. Pauley Ballroom catering kitchen).
  11. The community event is subject to inspection by the EH&S campus health inspector and campus fire marshal prior to the event opening to the public. EH&S has the authority to remove any participating organization from the event if code violations are observed that impact health and safety which are not immediately corrected. 
  12. EXCEPTIONS: Tabling on Sproul is NOT considered a Community Event. However, RSOs may provide limited food distribution at tabling under the following circumstances:
    1. Only commercially-prepared, pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods are available that do not require any refrigeration (e.g. candy, chips). An EH&S event permit application is NOT required for this.
    2. Bake Sales are allowed at Sproul Plaza tabling and other locations on campus. The EH&S Bake Sale Guidelines must be reviewed and followed. 
  13. RSOs who intend to serve food at meetings or private events that are held only for the benefit of membership, and attended only by members of the organization or invited guests, do not need to submit an event permit application to EH&S.  RSOs must maintain a list of attendees which could be a sign-in sheet or other prepared list. 

  14. RSOs observed to be in violation of these procedures will be subject to student conduct investigation and denial of food permit submittals for one year.

Procedures for Food Trucks at Student-Sponsored Events

FOOD TRUCK RESTRICTIONS: Food Trucks are currently not allowed to participate in events hosted by Registered Student Organizations until EH&S has implemented new food truck permit request procedures and inspection requirements.

Questions about the forthcoming new procedures should be submitted through the Food Trucks at Student-Sponsored Events form.

Glossary of Terms & Other Resources

Private event

private event is an event attended by members of the organization, and specifically invited guests. It is not open to the general public. Typically the number of guests can be anticipated. Not anyone, including a passerby, can attend the event and consume food. Examples: departmental meetings, birthdays, private celebrations, etc. Private events are not regulated by the California Retail Food Code (CRFC).

Public event

Public events are open to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The number of attendees is harder to anticipate beyond general estimates. Examples of public events include: Caltopia, East Asian Union Night Market, Calapalooza. 

Community Event

In order for an event permit to be issued to a student organization, the event must meet the definition of a “Community Event” (see below).  At a Community Event, student organizations may operate what is called a Temporary Food Facilities (TFF). Student organizations should not be allowed to operate a TFF that is not part of a Community Event.  

CalCode §113755. Community Event

Community Event ” means an event conducted for not more than 25 consecutive or nonconsecutive days in a 90- day period and that is of civic, political, public, or educational nature, including state and county fairs, city festivals, circuses, and other public gathering events APPROVED by the local ENFORCEMENT AGENCY (LEA). At UC Berkeley, the LEA is EH&S, and more specifically, the Campus Health Inspector. Examples of Community Events at UC Berkeley include: Caltopia, East Asian Union Night Market, Taste of Berkeley, and other cultural events designated and promoted by campus leadership.

Temporary Food Facility

CalCode §113930. Temporary Food Facility

Temporary Food Facility” (TFF) means a food facility approved by the enforcement officer that operates at a fixed location for the duration of an approved community event or at a swap meet only as a part of the community event or swap meet.

A temporary food facility is any establishment operating temporarily in connection with any community event where food is prepared or served for consumption by the campus community or general public. The California Retail Food Code (CRFC) Law dictates the requirements for the operation of a temporary food facility.

An Event Organizer application will need to be submitted to EH&S at least 30 days prior to the “Community Event”. The event permit requires the Event Organizer to be responsible for everything on the Event Organizer application. Refer to EHS 510 training.

Food vendors will need to comply with the CRFC requirements on the temporary food facility application and each booth will need to fill out their own application pertaining to their food booth operation.

Events/Facilities Requiring a Permit

  • A Special Event Permit must be submitted to EH&S for the following:

  • Student group fundraisers at Community Events

  • Bake sales at Community Events

  • Student group food giveaways at Community Events

Private Events Do Not Require a Permit

Private events are limited to members of a department, group, organization, club, or invited guests. The following events do not require an EH&S permit, but still have the potential for a foodborne illness outbreak. 

  • A food event that is ENTIRELY staffed by professional caterers and is not open to the public

  • Pot-luck style gatherings

  • Banquets, socials or meetings

  • Department-sponsored lectures, panels, presentations or receptions with refreshments for attendees

Recommended Resource: 

Special Event Safe Food Handling Practices (PDF)

Food Trucks

A food truck is defined as a “Mobile Food Facility” (MFF) in the CRFC, which means any vehicle used in conjunction with a commissary or other permanent food facility upon which food is sold or distributed at retail.

Every MFF invited to participate at a temporary event must be inspected by EH&S prior to the start of the event and during the event. When an MFF passes inspection, EH&S will issue a Special Event Permit for that event.

Food trucks must follow the campus Mobile Food Facilities Policy.