Food Safety

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC-DHHS) and University of North Carolina – Asheville (UNCA) work to ensure that all who live, work, and visit our campus are provided with safe food.

All food service establishments operating on campus must meet State requirements first, then University Environmental Health and Safety requirements (i.e., Buncombe County Retail Food Establishment Requirements). NC Environmental Health Services Section protects public health by ensuring that food establishments meet the requirements of the North Carolina Food CodeRules Governing the Food Protection and Sanitation of Food Establishments (15A NCAC 18A .2600), and undergo routine on-site inspections of facilities.

All UNCA events that include food service open to the campus and the public on UNCA properties must comply with the State first, then University Environmental Health and Safety requirements (i.e., Buncombe County Temporary Food Service Requirements). Organizers preparing food and providing food service on campus (i.e., teaching and education kitchens, university organizations, grant funded initiatives, etc.) for offering (free-of-charge), fund-raising sales, or donations, must comply with the requirements of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC-DHHS) and UNCA Foundation (Grant funded Teaching and Education Food Initiatives). For food preparation and service certification or NC Food Code compliance questions, please contact the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Environmental Health Services Section, at their main number (919) 707-5854 or Larry Michael, Section Chief, larry.michael@dhhs.nc.gov or visit their website at https://ehs.ncpublichealth.com/.

Under the contractual agreement between UNCA and Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services (and their subcontractors), our current food services provider has the “first right of refusal” to provide food for any campus event. Organizers, in need of food for an event, must request food service through Chartwells first before other food service providers will be permitted. Please contact Brooks Casteel, Director of Dining Services, Brown Hall, at bcasteel@unca.edu for more information.

Guidelines for Bake Sales

Bake sales can provide good fund raising opportunities for university organizations. However, as in any situation where food is being prepared and offered for sale to the public, caution must be exercised to provide safe food. When consumers buy food, they have the right to expect that it will be safe and wholesome.

While no health department permit is required for “bake sales”, the sponsoring organizations are responsible for the safety of the food products they offer for sale. Although the traditional bake sale foods such as bread, cakes, pies, cookies and candies rarely cause illness, it is important to remember that under the right circumstances any food can cause foodborne illness. The following guidelines will improve your chances for a successful bake sale:

  • Maintain List – Name, address, and phone number of each person who prepared an item for the event along with what they prepared. A sign indicating that these items are “Home Baked” should be posted.
  • Packaging – All food must be individually wrapped in plastic or foil.
  • Acceptable bake sale items (shelf-stable, non-potentially hazardous foods only) – Breads (quick breads and yeast); Cakes (except cheesecake or cream filled); Cookies; Bars; Muffins; Candies; Dried fruits; Herbs and spices; Cupcakes (except cream-filled); Non-potentially hazardous fruit-based pies not requiring refrigeration.
  • Not acceptable for bake sales – Cheesecake; Pastries; Cream, meringue, custard, or pumpkin pies; Cream-filled cakes, cupcakes, muffins, or doughnuts; Frosting and fillings made with cream cheese; Home-canned foods.

Please note that potentially hazardous foods (foods that require hot or cold holding) are not allowed at a bake sale. This requires a Temporary Restaurant Permit from Bumcombe County Department of Health.

Food Allergens

Individuals who are allergic or very sensitive to food can touch or smell food and have an allergic reaction. Some allergic reactions can be severe and require hospitalization. The eleven most common food allergens are: Milk, Citrus, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Wheat, Tree nuts, Melon, Strawberries, Shellfish, and Fish.

Please consider the following:

  • Label items that containing allergens, i.e. “contains nuts”.
  • Position foods containing known allergens away from other items or use a separate table.
  • Designate a person to handle the sales of only allergen-free foods.

Transportation

  • Vehicles used for transport should be clean and maintained in good sanitary condition.
  • Food should be tightly wrapped to protect from dust, dirt and insects.
  • Food should not be transported with pets.

Leftovers

To avoid leftovers, reduce the price 20 minutes before the close of your fundraiser. If there are leftovers they must be disposed of once the event is over.

When planning a bake sale, please observe the following requirements:

  1. All foods must be protected from unnecessary handling, airborne contamination and pests. Baked goods should be placed in food storage bags or containers, wrapped with new food grade plastic or foil or dispensed from a covered food storage container.
  2. Individuals shall thoroughly wash their hands before conducting the sale and after any act that could contaminate their hands, such as coughing, eating, or using the restroom.
  3. Bare hand contact with the food items should be avoided through the use of plastic gloves, tissues, bags or utensils (tongs/spoons).
  4. A sign or placard stating “Home Baked” must be posted (click link to sign sample).
  5. Donors should be encouraged to identify/label any product that contains any major allergen. Major allergens include peanuts (peanut butter), eggs, wheat, soybeans, milk and milk products (e.g. butter, buttermilk, cheese) and tree nuts (e.g. almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews).
  6. The event organizer should retain a list of who donated what food items or wrapped baked items should be labeled with the baker’s name in order to identify the source of the product.
  7. Good standards of housekeeping and hygiene are expected of persons operating the bake sale. All foods should be displayed on clean counters and the bake sale area maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.