Office of Student Life

Serving & Selling Food and Beverage on Campus

Whether you plan to distribute them for free or to sell them at a profit to fund-raise for your organization, there are several important things to consider before giving out food and/or beverages on campus.

OSL is authorized to issue food permits to registered campus organizations in limited circumstances described below. And all food distribution on campus must comply with the policies and procedures of UCSB Environmental Health & Safety, Campus Concessions, UCen Dining, and other relevant units. Campus policies and procedures regarding food and beverage have been designed to fulfill State and County legal requirements with the intent of ensuring that food and beverage distributed on campus is safe to consume and to minimize the risk of food-borne illness.

UCSB Food Safety Checklist

Regardless of the type of food you're about to distribute, please review and comply with all applicable food safety guidelines. Download the UCSB Food Booth Food Safety Checklist. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also maintains several Food Safety Fact Sheets that provide helpful information. You are encouraged to review relevant fact sheets before distributing or selling food. Popular and relevant selections include:

On-Campus Food Distribution and Sales - OSL Food Permit Required

All food sales on campus require a food permit. Additionally, except as outlined in the section below, food that is being distributed for free also requires a food permit. OSL's Food Permit Application is available exclusively online on OrgSync/Connect. Permit applications must be submitted at least 5 business days in advance. Covered events include:
  • Sale of commercially prepared, packaged items that are labeled for individual resale.
  • Distribution or sale of items you prepare yourselves from raw ingredients (e.g. baked goods, prepared entrées, etc.).
  • Distribution or sale of items we purchase from a reputable food seller (e.g. a restaurant) with a valid health permit and insurance.
Please keep in mind that campus policy limits registered campus organizations to one food sale per month, per group and that OSL Food Permits must be publicly displayed at sales. 

On-Campus Food Fundraiser Sales with Non-Campus Vendors

Additionally, your organization might choose to partner with a non-campus vendor to host a fundraiser for your group. The following table summarizes non-campus vendor eligibility to participate in on-campus food sales.
Non-Campus Vendor Classifications

In order to obtain a permit for a non-campus vendor, begin by completing OSL's Food Permit Application. OSL will forward your application to Campus Concessions for further review. When working with non-campus vendors, permit applications must be submitted at least 10 business days in advance (longer if your preferred vendor is not on the list of approved caterers in order to give the vendor time to supply the necessary information and documents).

On-Campus Food Distribution - No OSL Food Permit Required

In the following instances, you do not need to obtain a food permit from OSL prior to distributing or selling food or beverage:
  • Free distribution of commercially prepared, shelf-stable packaged items that are labeled for individual resale. These items must remain in their commercial packaging. Examples include: cookies, chips, brownies, cans of soda, trail mix, etc.
  • Free distribution of any type of food to your organization's members or guests during an organization event (e.g. luncheon, banquet, meeting, etc.). However:
    • A Campus Catering Permit is required whenever more than $150- of food and/or beverage from a off-campus vendor will be served in any campus venue (except in cases of pizza delivery of less than $250-).
    • Regardless of dollar amount, food and/or beverage served in any campus venue must be purchased from a vendor listed on UCSB's list of approved caterers (except in cases of pizza delivery of less than $250-).

Off-Campus Food Distribution and Sales

Please keep in mind that OSL-issued permits are not valid off campus! If you are considering distributing or selling food in public off campus (including Isla Vista), please refer to our Off-Campus Food Distribution and Sales page.


Failure of a registered campus organization to comply with food distribution policies and procedures may result in a fine to my organization and/or other sanctions imposed upon my organization and/or the participating non-campus vendor.