Food & Drink in College Venues

In this article we will cover:

There are specific rules regarding the provision of food and drinks at events held on College Campuses, including in the Union Building.

College Spaces

Food is permitted only in explicitly designated spaces within each Department. It is at the discretion of departments as to what spaces food is allowed in.

Only food and drink provided by the College can be supplied and consumed in areas controlled by the College’s Conference & Events Team.

Only hand-held, cold finger-food is permitted for catering for events. If wet, hot food is required then this must be ordered through the Conferences and Events Office and it can only be provided in designated spaces. Catering order forms can be collected from the Student Hub, on Level 3, Sherfield Building, South Kensington.

Union Spaces

Only food bought in Union catering outlets may be consumed in those outlets.

External caterers in Union Spaces

Any external caterers will require clearance from the Student Activities Team. This is to ensure the caterer also meets the necessary hygiene standards.

Pre-packaged, shop-bought food which does not require heating or refrigeration facilities for transporting, storage, or serving and which is safe to serve at ambient temperature is exempt from needing approval for the supplier, though permission for doing this must be sought from Student Activities. Care must still be taken in the storage and serving of pre-packaged food.


Student groups cannot consume alcohol which they have brought onto Union or College premises as these are licensed venues. Bringing your own alcohol into venues is a serious offense. Any alcohol to be consumed must be purchased through Union or College bars/Conferences & Events Team, or a corkage fee may need to be negotiated in advance.

For the supply of alcohol for events held on Union premises contact the Student Activities Team.

Alcohol bought in Union outlets may only be consumed in:

Providing home-made food

Our rules on the provision of homemade goods are based on guidance published by The Food Standards Agency in July 2013 on the applicability of food hygiene regulations for charity and community groups providing food at events. 

Precautions still need to be taken to serve home-made food ensure that the food being served is safe and fully cooked. Also be aware of food allergies and religious food requirements among the participants. Some recommendations are provided below. Please note that Union and College rules still apply to catering when it is homemade.

Food can be prepared at home if the food complies with the following guidelines:


It is fine to serve pre-packed food purchased from a supplier providing it meets these guidelines. There may be some ambiguities which may arise with these guidelines.

Food Safety

When you’re making food for large numbers of people, it’s important to keep food safe. Here are some general practical tips:

Bake Sales

This advice is taken from the Food Standards Agency.

There is no rule banning the sale of homemade cakes at school fetes or other community events.

Homemade cakes should be safe to eat, as long as the people who make them follow good food hygiene advice and the cakes are stored and transported safely.

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