Code of Safe Practice

Departmental Catering

1. Quality Control Checks on Suppliers

If a Department is obtaining sandwiches or other food to supply as departmental hospitality, a supplier on the approved list must be used. A copy of the current approved list is attached. Any suggestions for additions to the approved list should be made to the Head of Procurement. 

Note: The Procurement Department and Facilities, Residential & Commercial Services have for some time had joint arrangements which have been used to vet suppliers of sandwiches, etc. which are sold through Catering outlets. It is necessary that the same checks are carried out in relation to any food provided on behalf of the University, in order to protect those who eat it, and the University's reputation.

2. Regular Catering within the University or University Buildings

Where outside organisations rent space to provide regular catering, they should also be subject to quality assurance checks from Procurement/Facilities, Residential & Commercial Services. In addition, any catering provided by University Departments for more than five days a month is subject to the Food Hygiene Regulations and must be registered with the local environmental health department.  Nothing in this section applies to the normal preparation of beverages and biscuits by departmental staff, for themselves or for visitors, including the widespread arrangements when staff or students club together to provide tea, milk etc for themselves; except that it does apply in those cases where someone is employed part-time, principally to prepare and serve beverages.

Before any regular catering is undertaken or provided, the Head of Department, or a responsible person in the Department concerned must contact Ann Bickerstaffe, Senior Procurement Manager so that quality assurance checks can be carried out.

Organised departmental catering requires strict hygienic standards. If the catering is simply tea/coffee and biscuits, the basic requirements are these:

1.  There must be a handwash basin with soap, towels (or hand drier) and nailbrush. Hands must be washed before the start of each work session.

2.  Smoking in the catering/servery area is not permitted.

3.  Employees must be provided with two sets of protective clothing and must wear clean protective clothing when preparing or serving food.

If any regular catering is to be undertaken by a Department which goes beyond beverages and biscuits, the responsible person in the Department concerned must obtain a copy of the Department of Health Guidelines on the Food Hygiene Regulations and see that they are implemented.

Outside caterers on University premises, although subject to quality assurance checks by Procurement/Facilities, Residential and Commercial Services (see above), are responsible for compliance with the Food Hygiene Regulations. However, if any clearly unhygienic practices are observed then this should be reported to the Head of Procurement so that the firm concerned can be warned, or, if appropriate, removed from the list of approved Caterers.

3. Occasional Departmental Catering

Any catering which is not repeated more than five days in any five consecutive weeks is not required to register with Environmental Health, but basic rules of food hygiene should be followed to ensure the health and safety of those eating the food.

Note: Care is needed over the short-term storage of sandwiches and other buffet food which is liable to go off if it is left unrefrigerated. This applies whether the food is prepared by the Department or bought from a shop. The maximum length of time such food should be left unrefrigerated is four hours. Any food which remains after that period should be disposed of.