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Food Guidelines

Food Service and Sales Guidelines

The College of New Jersey works to support the activity and success of its student organizations. As the health and wellness of our students is paramount, guidelines have been developed to support the service and sales of food products. Seeking to establish safe procedures for food preparation and service and to ensure accurate communication of food ingredients, these guidelines will help promote the safety of your guests and of the TCNJ community. 

In consultation with New Jersey and Mercer County health authorities, these guidelines provide guidance for food sales, service, and suggested donations. 


Food Sales – The required exchange of a fixed amount of money for a food item. 

Food Service – Providing food at no charge to a person or group.

Suggested Donations – Providing a food item for a suggested donated amount. 

Student organizations seeking to serve or sell food must comply with the following guidelines. 

The Food Guidelines Form must be completed and displayed with all food during sales and service distribution. 

Guidelines for Food Sales

Food Types

Organizations seeking to sell food either at cost or for a fundraising profit must adhere to the following guidelines. 

All food must be either: 

  1. Prepacked food that was prepared and sealed in a commercial kitchen with a known list of ingredients without a need to be maintained at a particular temperature. 
    1. Prepackaged food Examples: Chips, Muffins, Popcorn, Pretzels, Canned or Bottled Beverages, Cookies, or Candy
  2. Procured by a 3rd party entity in a licensed commercial kitchen and prepared within applicable health department guidelines for the express purposes of distribution. 
    1. Commercial Kitchen Examples: Panera Catering, Chipotle Catering, Krispy Kreme Glazed Donuts, Mama Floras Catering, Mexican Mariachi Catering, or Sodexo Catering. 
  3. Food on the following approved list:
    1. Cheese Pizza
    2. Chipotle (pre-ordered food suggested to be consumed within 2 hours from pick-up time)
    3. Bagels (e.g. with individually packaged cream cheese and butter)
    4. Hot Chocolate made with water
    5. Ice Pops, Italian Ices, or Rita’s Water Ice
    6. Beverages served from a sealed container (2 liter soda bottle, large water bottle, gatorade, etc)

Items that are not allowed:

      • Due to the inherent risk of fire, physical damage, and/or injury, the use of heating devices such as deep fryers, pressure cookers, air fryers, and instapots, hot plates, toasters, toaster ovens, waffle presses, panini presses, crockpots, and microwaves are prohibited. 
      • No appliances at vendor tables.
      • No Sushi service or sales

Food Sales

In order to sell these items all foods must: 

  1. Have a displayed list of all ingredients 
  2. Be served using safe serving procedures including the use of non-latex gloves and serving utensils. (The use of gloves and serving utensils for Prepacked foods is optional)
  3. Be maintained according to guidelines from food preparer and maintained no longer than the hold time identified by the food preparer (Commercial Kitchen items)
  4. Prepackaged food should not be past expiration date.

Service of Food for Free or for “Recommended Donations”

Student Organizations that are serving food at an event or that are providing food with a recommended donation must utilize the following guideline checklist. These items represent best practices in food safety and are highly encouraged. 

  1. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (sing happy birthday twice) before and after handling food, prior to putting on gloves.  Proper hand washing should be used after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.
  2. All food needs to be served with non-latex gloves.
  3. All food needs to be served with serving utensils.
  4. All ingredients must be displayed.
  5. All foods should be freshly produced minimizing the time between food readiness and food service. 
  6. All food should be picked up and transported immediately before the service begins. 
  7. During transport, food should be handled and placed in a manner that does not expose it to contaminants or excessive heat/cold.
  8. No foods should be served more than 2 hours after preparation/pickup without proper heating or refrigeration.
  9. Foods that are required to be kept hot/cold, can not be served for more than 2 hours without proper temperature maintenance (Sterno, warmer, cooler, thermos or insulated serving vessel, and/or thermometer) — If a sterno is used, please fill out a TCNJ candle waiver.
  10. Foods that are required to be kept hot/ cold, and that utilize proper temperature maintenance, can not be served for more than 4 hours. 
  11. At the end of these time windows, your food is no longer safe for consumption. Please dispose of it appropriately. 
  12. Foods should be cooked in clean locations; ideally a commercial kitchen. 
  13. Foods should only be warmed to the proper temperature once to prevent excessive bacterial growth. 
  14. When possible, food should be served by a designated member(s) or as few individuals as possible throughout the event.
  15. Foods that are liquid (or that have melted to liquid) should be either taken with you or disposed of in the specialized service disposal. This can be accessed by asking the info desk for help. 
  16. Gloves should be discarded and utensils thoroughly washed or discarded at the conclusion of service.  

For questions related to the Student Organization Food Usage Guidelines, please contact involvement@tcnj.edu.

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