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  • Food cannot be sold at the event. This includes solicitation of donations.
  • ServeSafe Guidelines must be followed.
  • A reservation for the outdoor event space must be made.   A Lehigh University Outdoor Activity Notification must be submitted to the U.C. Reservations Desk.
  • Standard University procedures apply for the serving of alcoholic beverages; please review the Alcohol Guidelines and contact our office for a request form. (610-758-4163).
  • The organization will be responsible for identifying the designated cook(s) for the event. The designated cook(s) will be required to review the following food safety information at least one week prior to the event:
    Food Safety and Inspection Service
    United States Department of Agriculture
    Washington, D.C. 20250-3700


Cooking For Groups: How To Keep Food Safe

(NAPS)--Whether preparing food for a family reunion or a community gathering, people who are great cooks at home don't necessarily know how to safely prepare and store large quantities of food for large groups. Food that is mishandled can cause foodborne illness. However, by following some simple steps, volunteer cooks can make the event safe and successful!

1. Plan Ahead--Make sure the location meets your needs.

2. Store and Prepare Food Safely.

3. Cook Food to Safe Internal Temperatures--It's the only way to tell if harmful bacteria are destroyed!

4. Transport Food Safely--Keep hot food HOT. Keep cold food COLD.

5. Need to Reheat?--Food must be hot and steamy for serving. Just "warmed up" is not good enough.

6. Keep Food Out of the "Danger Zone" (40°F-140°F).

7. When In Doubt, Throw It Out!

For a copy of Cooking for Groups: A Volunteer's Guide to Food Safety, write: FCIC, Item #604H, Pueblo, CO 81009.

For more food safety information, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555; for the hearing impaired 1-800-256-7072 (TTY);



For Further Information Contact:

FSIS Food Safety Education Staff
Meat and Poultry Hotline:

The event must be closed to the general public and limited to a small group. Cooking for groups in excess of 50 people will require approved professional ServSafe trained, licensed, and insured cook or vendor.

  • Be sure you have enough oven, stovetop, refrigerator, freezer, and work space.
  • Find out if there's a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning.
  • Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within 2 hours of shopping or preparing.
  • Find separate preparation areas in the work space for raw and cooked food.
  • Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that held raw food.
  • Wash hands, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and work surfaces frequently with hot, soapy water.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, egg dishes, casseroles, and other food.
  • Check temperature in several places to be sure food is safely cooked.
  • Never partially cook food for finishing later because you increase the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Keep cold food at or below 40°F. Place in a cooler with a cold source such as ice or commercial freezing gels.
  • Keep hot food at or above 140°F. Wrap well and place in an insulated container.
  • Use the stove, oven, or microwave to reheat food to 165°F. Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a boil.
  • Keep hot food hot--at or above 140°F. Place cooked food in chafing dishes, preheated steam tables, warming trays, and/or slow cookers.
  • Keep cold food cold--at or below 40°F. Place food in containers on ice.
  • Discard food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Place leftovers in shallow containers. Refrigerate or freeze immediately.
  • 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) - Tollfree Nationwide
  • 1-800-256-7072 (TDD/TTY)
  • E-mail:
  • All groups will be required to obtain a Food License from the City of Bethlehem Health Bureau for each event. The City of Bethlehem Health Bureau reserves the right to send a health inspector to the location to make sure all guidelines are being followed and food is prepared safely.
  • Sanitary gloves must be worn when serving food and all food must be placed in proper serving units.
  • The use of alcohol is not permitted, standard University procedures apply for the serving of alcoholic beverages; please contact our office for a request form.
  • A person should be designated to handle emergency response issues and should have with them a telephone and emergency phone numbers - Campus police 610-758-4200 - or 84200 from a campus phone. This person should also make the decision to cancel the cookout if a storm develops or if lightning or high winds occur.
  • University Police must be notified in writing at least 24 hours in advance of the event. Fire exits (including routes to buildings) are not to be blocked. The area the cookout occurs should be free of debris including combustibles such as leaves and it should be located away from windows and building air intakes to avoid triggering building smoke detectors.
  • An individual must be identified as the spokesperson for the group.
  • Cooking:
    • Using a gas grill is preferred as it eliminates the need to use charcoal lighter and can be extinguished immediately.
    • If that is not possible, one individual who has experience lighting charcoal grills shall ignite the grill(s) making certain that the area is clear of people. Once the grill(s) have been ignited the lighter fluid must be put away. Charcoal fluid shall not be used on hot coals!
    • A fire extinguisher is to be available and someone who is trained in how to use the fire extinguisher on site.
  • At the end of the event a proper clean up must follow. Charcoals are to be emptied into a metal can after they are used and have cooled. Personnel should wait 24 hours prior to disposing charcoals in the garbage. During this time they should be kept outdoors away from combustibles and out of the wind. To ensure the charcoals are cooled add a slight amount of water.
  • The area must be cleaned up and litter free at the end of the event or reserving organization will be charged.