Events & Party Food Safety Guidelines

Special occasions bring out the celebration in all of us and celebration leads to food. This can be anything from bringing treats into work to large parties celebrating whatever. It is important to ensure food safety whether at work, at an event, or at home. Listed below are some guidelines to help promote food safety. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the MU Sanitarian at (573) 882-7018.


Temporary Food Permit

All campus events where food or drink is served require a Temporary Food Permit unless it is exempted under the section describing when a permit is not needed. Any questions or additional information needed may be addressed to the MU Sanitarian.


Potentially Hazardous Foods

These are foods associated with potential foodborne illnesses. As a rule of thumb, these foods have high water content and allow the growth of bacteria. Proper temperatures can reduce the risk factors considerably.

  • Wild game such as venison, wild turkey and other non-inspected meat products cannot be served at public events.
  • Home canned products (pickles, relish, etc.) cannot be served at public events.
  • Dessert items such homemade pumpkin pies, non-fruit pies and eclairs are potentially hazardous and are not to be served at public events.
  • Proper cooking temperatures are to be observed when preparing meats and other foods for public consumption. Ground beef is to be cooked to 155°F internal temperature and poultry is to be cooked to 165°F internal temperature.

Food Storage/Presentation

Foods that are potentially hazardous need to be refrigerated to minimize bacterial growth. Refrigerator temperatures are to be maintained at 41°F or less and foods should not be kept longer than 7 days in the refrigerator. When presenting foods (serving) in a buffet style, cold foods (potato salad, cold meats, etc.) are to be kept chilled to less than or equal to 41°F while hot foods (hamburgers, cooked vegetables, etc.) are to be maintained greater than or equal to 135°F.


Bacterial Information

Bacteria are found everywhere. Some are harmful and some are not. It is important to keep the growth potential of bacteria to a minimum to prevent any food borne illness. Maintaining the temperatures in the previous section will help in this endeavor. Ideal growth of bacteria is in the temperature range of 41°F - 135°F. Due to the growth in this range we try to keep potentially hazardous foods outside these temperatures and take the foods quickly through this temperature range when heating or cooling foods.



It is important to serve condiments in single service packets or in squeeze bottles with sealable lids to prevent cross contamination.