Food consumption can lead to food poisoning. Your Registered Student Organization's liability for claims of food poisoning depends mostly on two things:
- the degree to which you prepared the food, and
- the responsibility you had to preserve the food (i.e. keep uncontaminated and hot or cold)
From a liability standpoint, the less you have to do with preparing the food and the sooner you serve it, the better. Here is a liability breakdown of food serving options:
- Pre-packaged foods(bags of chips, bottled water, etc.) These pose very little risk because someone else prepared them and you did not have to take any steps to preserve them, so liability goes to the manufacturer, not you.
Recommended loss prevention: do not open until serving.
- Prepared foods(pizza, sandwiches, salads, etc.) brought in from restaurants or stores. You do not have to prepare them, but depending on when they are served, you may have to preserve them.
Recommended loss prevention: keep hot or cold as appropriate. Do not unwrap until serving. Serve sooner than later.
- Catered foods(at banquets and other major functions). The caterer is preparing the food and preserving it, so liability goes to the caterer.
Recommended loss prevention: see below.
- Foods you make. Since you prepared the food and probably had to preserve it, if someone gets sick, YOU are responsible!
Recommended loss prevention: Follow safe food handling procedures (i.e. wash your hands, clean utensils, clean surfaces, avoid cross-contamination, etc.). Keep food hot or cold as appropriate. Wrap or cover for protection if possible and do not unwrap or uncover until serving.
- Foods you make to sell. Since you prepared the food and probably had to preserve it, if someone gets sick, YOU are responsible!
Recommended loss prevention: Make sure you have any necessary permits. Follow safe food handling procedures (i.e. wash your hands, clean utensils, clean surfaces, avoid cross contamination, etc.) Keep food hot or cold as appropriate. Wrap or cover for protection if possible and do not unwrap or uncover until serving.
The insurance policy for on-campus Registered Student Organization activities includes coverage for pre-packaged food, prepared food, and food you make.
The insurance policy also covers food you sell, but only if you sell less than $10,000 worth per event. Before you prepare or sell food on campus, you need approval from Environment, Health & Safety. See the EHS web site for more information.
If your event is catered, the caterer will need to provide insurance. If the caterer does not have insurance, it can obtain event coverage through Marsh, the University's insurance broker, by going to the Marsh Campus Connexions web site and clicking on the link for Vendors and Contractors, then clicking on the link for Liability insurance. Or the service provider can call Marsh at 866-838-9536.
The University requires a Certificate of Insurance from caterers that includes the following:
- The caterer must be listed as the Insured.
- Your Registered Student Organization and The REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA must be listed as "Additional Insureds".
- The Insurer/Producer name and contact information must be on the Certificate.
- The policy start and end date must encompass the date of your event.
- The policy must include General Liability coverage of at least $1,000,000.
- If the caterer is bringing a vehicle onto campus, the policy must include Automobile Liability coverage of at least $1,000,000.
- If the caterer is bringing employees onto campus, the policy must include evidence of California Workers' Compensation coverage.
- The Certificate must provide 30 days' advance written notice to the University of any modification, change, or cancellation of any component of the insurance coverage.