Potentially Hazardous Food

Potentially hazardous food (PHF) means any food which consists in whole or in part of milk or milk products, eggs, meat, poultry, rice ,fish, shellfish, edible crustacean, raw-seed sprouts, heat-treated vegetables and vegetable products and other ingredients in a form capable of supporting rapid and progressive growth of microorganisms.

  1. All potentially hazardous food should be kept below 41oF (for cold foods) or above 135oF (for hot foods) except during necessary preparation time or a short display period. Hot or cold holding equipment may be required to store and display food during an event. A food thermometer is also required if potentially hazardous foods will be served.
  2. Dispose of any food remaining at the conclusion of the event.
  3. Do not handle or prepare food for others while experiencing gastrointestinal disturbance symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and for two-to-three days after symptoms subside.  Students handling foods must be free of the following symptoms: fever, severe sore throat, chills, cold or flu-like symptoms, open cuts or sores.
  4. Gloves must be worn when handling food.
  5. Keep a small bucket with at least one gallon of water with 1-2 tablespoons of bleach on hand for utensils that might need to be sanitized during the event.
  6. If hand washing facilities are not readily available, you may need to rent a portable sink from Building Services.  See section on Hand Washing.
  7. All food and paper products (cups, napkins, etc.) should be kept off the ground, especially during outside events.  Make sure you have plenty of cups and utensils to avoid sharing.
  8. Ice must be purchased from an approved source and protected from contamination.
  9. Do not provide drinks or ice that are self-serve from a common source, such as a punch bowl or community ice bowl.   Provide pitchers or bottles and cans.
  10. Trash containers must be provided for both the food servers and attendees of the event.


Shaundree Davis
Assistant Director, Environmental Health