To protect and promote
public health, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) provides
numerous public health services for the faculty, staff, students,
volunteers and visitors at university facilities by written
agreement with the Washington State Department of Health.
The EH&S Public Health Program (PHP) focuses on disease prevention through sanitation,
food safety, safe water and management of pests below problem thresholds. It
promotes safe and healthy environmental conditions throughout all the university
campuses and remote sites to ensure that all UW occupants have a safe, healthy
place to live, learn, work and play.
FOOD SAFETY PROGRAM
EH&S oversees food-related activities at all UW locations, including
the medical centers and the Bothell and Tacoma campuses, through a
comprehensive food safety program for dining halls, student union
retail restaurants and coffee shops. This program helps ensure that
UW dining facilities meet the highest standards in serving safe,
healthy and high quality food, and helps protect the public from foodborne illness.
The program is customized to meet each client's
specific needs and its goal is to give food service providers and
groups the tools they need to meet state food safety regulations.
Regulatory requirements apply to food sale and distribution to the
public by restaurants, cafeterias, mobile food facilities, catering
services and temporary event food providers.
To help assure the safety of foods being offered on campus,
all persons and vendors offering food must operate in compliance
Washington State Retail Food Code.Temporary event organizers are responsible for assuring that
their food vendors are aware of its requirements. Anyone selling or
distributing food on campus must obtain permission before doing so,
e.g. a department’s sponsorship and EH&S approval.
The food safety program includes:
safety and sanitation audits of food establishments
regulatory compliance review, interpretation and recommendations
- Food-related complaint investigation and follow-up
review and consultation for campus food service establishments under
remodel or new construction
concession vendor food activities
For further information, contact a public
health advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org .
FOOD SAFETY AUDITS (INSPECTIONS)
EH&S permits and regularly inspects all UW permanent food facilities
to ensure that they maintain the highest standards of safe food
handling and cleanliness as set forth in the
Washington State Retail Food Code. EH&S staff evaluate food
service providers and facilities’ performance by conducting
from one to four audits (inspections) annually depending on menu
complexity, with follow-up re-inspections if needed.
This schedule meets or exceeds Washington State health
Audit results are reviewed with each food establishment’s
management, at which time guidance is provided in order to make
Inspection reports are available for public review at each of the UW
Inspector uses a thermocouple to
check food temperatures
SPORTS CONCESSION VENDORS
Inspectors also audit
concessions at sports events to ensure proper food safety practices.
Any issues are immediately addressed
with the food service provider.
Husky Stadium housing numerous food concession stands
TEMPORARY EVENT FOOD SERVICE PERMITS
Online Applications for Temporary Food Service Permit are
required for the following:
Group events with food provided by a
non-University caterer or supplier.
Any food sold or given away to the public
or general campus community (one form needed for EACH
Associated Students of the University of
Washington (ASUW) clubs preparing food (must be done in an
approved facility by permitted food handlers)
If food is prepared or served in a booth, also
Additional Booth Requirements (pdf) form. Please read
Food Service Criteria and ensure you and/or your caterer adhere
to the University's food service standards. Read the
Sheet (pdf) if you are planning a barbecue, as it describes fire
code requirements and food safety issues for such events.
Submit completed application(s) to EH&S ten
days before an event, in one of the following ways:
If you are
uncertain how much information to provide contact the EH&S public
health advisors at 206-616-1623 or by email:
online (highly recommended)
Mailed to Box 354400, Seattle WA 98195-4400,
Attn: Temp. Food Event
Outbreaks often occur in close groups of
people: ships, lodges, schools, institutions, dormitories
UW Temporary Food Service Events
Booth Handwash Station
FOOD-RELATED COMPLAINTS OR SUSPECTED FOODBORNE
Reports related to suspected foodborne illness or food
service operations on campus will be investigated by the program’s
public health advisors, who will check out the report’s
circumstances and assist with problem resolution. If you think you
might have been made sick by food prepared at a UW food service,
please report it to the public health advisors at 206-543-7209 or
206-616-1623. Because of the need for haste, we ask you to call; a
phone interview allows us to discuss the circumstances of your
illness while memory is fresh and questionable food may still be on
sale so that it can be withdrawn from service if indicated.
If you witness possible unsafe food handling practices or unclean
conditions at a food establishment, please contact us immediately. All reports to EH&S are kept confidential.
FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT PLAN REVIEW
EH&S reviews plans before construction of new facilities or remodel
of existing ones to facilitate code compliance and smooth operation,
ability to clean, safe equipment, etc.
All plans for new and remodeled food service establishments,
including espresso carts, must be submitted to EH&S for review and
approval. This also
applies to leased facilities and major equipment alterations.
For any questions or concerns about this process, please call the UW
public health advisors at 206-616-1623 or 206-543-7209.
FOOD RECALL NOTIFICATIONS
The food safety program monitors federal
and state government information networks for food recalls
pertaining to foods distributed in Washington. This information is
forwarded to UW community food partners by email, Monday through
Friday during business hours, as it is released. If you are a UW
food partner and have not received recall notifications and want
them, please let us know at
FOREIGN OBJECTS IN FOOD
If you find an object or substance in your food that should not be
there, save the foreign object or substance and give it to the food
service's manager. Also, complete the top portion of a
Foreign Object Report (pdf).
EH&S will then investigate the object or substance for identity and
origin. You may also
call 206-616-1623 or 206-543-7209 to report the problem.
If the object or substance injured you, ask the manager for an
(pdf) as well and do one of the
Mail it to EH&S Public Health Program, UW Box 354400, Seattle WA
Scan and e-mail it to email@example.com
Bring it to Hall Health Center 440
For food quality complaints, contact the food service manager and/or
complete a feedback form found in all major food services.
SWIMMING POOLS AND SPAS
failure to properly maintain aquatic facility sanitation can allow spread of
waterborne diseases or cause injuries, EH&S regularly inspects the UW’s
swimming pools and spas.
pool operators are certified by a national swimming pool/spa agency. Both
swimming pools are monitored 24/7 by computerized monitors that can be read
onsite or remotely.
samples are tested quarterly. Quality parameters include bacterial counts,
free chlorine and pH among others. Water quality, recirculation equipment
and safety features of each pool are evaluated during quarterly inspections.
Follow-up inspections are conducted if major problems are noted and need
correction. Questions or
concerns regarding UW’s aquatic facility health or safety should be directed
to the public health advisors at 206-616-1623 or 206-543-7209.
DRINKING WATER CONCERNS
telephone interviews and site visits if thought necessary, following UW
community member complaints to assure that drinking water quality meets all
state and federal standards.
you notice water coming out of a drinking fountain or sink with an off-taste
or unusual color or odor, call the public health advisors at 206-543-7209 or
206-616-1623. A detailed description of the problem is a great help, as the
more accurately a problem is described, the faster a safety determination
can be achieved.
Most often, campus water "problems" are simple maintenance issues
without health consequences.
The most common complaint is a yellowish cloudiness caused by
rust particles and sediment, which brings an accompanying off-taste.
Fill a jar or beaker with water and let it settle overnight.
In the morning, the water may be clear but have a brownish
residue clumping in the bottom of the vessel.
This is only rust and a normal occurrence in buildings with
iron pipes; it does not hurt people and is not a problem.
Cloudy water emerging from a faucet is the other common complaint.
To help find the cause, fill a clear container with it and
let it sit a few minutes.
If the water clears from the bottom toward the top, the cause
is air compressed into the water, probably due to some recent
plumbing work on the pipes; this is not a problem and the cloudiness
will disappear in a short time.
third most common complaint is a seasonal “swampy"? taste and odor, which occurs
in late summer or early autumn due to Seattle’s use of surface water sources
when the reservoirs have warmed up.
Geosamin, the same chemical which gives beets their taste, is the cause and is
However, if you notice a chemical odor (e.g., like xylene) or
unusual color (pink, red or excessively cloudy) in your water, try
to collect a sample in a clean glass container and call the public
health advisors immediately at 206-616-1623 or 206-543-7209. They
will investigate and determine what action, if any, is needed to
find the cause and correct the problem.
Insects, rodents and other life forms try to make their homes on and
in UW buildings. As a recognized leader in innovative academic
institution pest management, EH&S is committed to practicing safe
and effective pest control.
Our goal is to safeguard human and animal health and UW
property, and inform and educate our community on environmentally
sensitive pest control.
The UW practices Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to minimize
chemical use and maximize safety.
you have a pest concern, we suggest that you attempt to characterize it as
either simple, where the pest carries no disease and does not attack humans,
or urgent, where a pest might carry disease, bite or sting.
An example of a simple concern would be silverfish in an office; an
urgent concern could be a swarm of honeybees near a sidewalk, a yellow
jacket nest in a window frame, possible bedbugs or a rat discovered running
around in an office. We respond
to all requests for assistance in a timely manner through a pest control
contractor who serves the main campus daily five days a week and is
available for emergency situations.
pest problem service, complete the
Report and click "Send Form."
Report as many significant details about the observation as possible,
especially the pest's exact location, activities, etc.
Service will be provided as soon as possible or the next service day
depending on the problem; you may also call to arrange a suitable time.
report urgent pest problems to EH&S at 206-616-1623 or 206-543-7209. Your
concern will be evaluated and prioritized, and service will be arranged as
soon as possible.
fail to receive service, have concerns with what was provided or need
follow-up, call the public health advisors for assistance.
bedbug information and procedures, see
Injured, sick or dead animals and birds on campus should be reported
to EH&S at 206-616-1623 or 206-543-7209 for proper attention year
around. Attempts will be
made to obtain assistance for sick and injured wildlife, and dead
animals and birds will be disposed of properly.
Off-campus July 15–October 15 only: if you notice dead crows, jays
or other birds, if they are 1) fresh (dead less than 24 hours) and
2) clearly not road kills or window hits, report them to the State
Health Department on its website:
for possible West Nile Virus testing
PRESENTATIONS ON PUBLIC HEALTH RELATED TOPICS
EH&S provides the following public health outreach services:
- General consultation on sanitation and safety plus a wide range of
topics, e.g, influenza
- Environmental health information presentations at meetings and
- Liaison with other agencies and jurisdictions to receive, screen or
share current information regarding environmental health
- Handouts on a variety of subjects
If you need a speaker to present information to a group on a public
health-related topic, contact the public health advisors at
206-616-1623 or 206-543-7209.
WEST NILE VIRUS INFORMATION
West Nile Virus season is over until about July, 2014, when this section
will be updated. There
were two confirmed human West Nile Virus (WNV) cases caught in Washington in
introduced into North America in 2002 and has moved from the East Coast to
the West Coast since then. The
virus is lethal to most birds and occasionally humans.
It is spread by mosquitoes that bite an infected bird and then also
bite an animal or human.
Mosquitoes that bite both birds and humans are the most dangerous, and
people should make sure that they do not allow standing water pools on their
property in which they can breed, e.g., flower pots, tires, buckets and
similar containers, etc.
Due to budget constraints, testing of crows, jays and other bird
species will not be up to the level of previous years when dead
birds, trapped mosquitoes and sentinel chicken flocks were routinely
checked for WNV presence, but there is expected to be funding for
limited testing this summer.
Historically, a viral presence in these groups meant human
cases would appear soon, so come July, people should report all dead
birds to EH&S at 206-616-1623 or 206-543-7209 if on campus, and the
State Health Department Dead Bird Hot- line if
In the absence of local data, the best advice continues to be to protect
yourself from mosquito bites because it is impossible to estimate the odds of an
infected mosquito biting a person.
yourself and avoid being bitten by:
outdoors at times when mosquitoes are hungry and biting (usually around dusk
mosquito repellent and wearing clothes with long sleeves and long pants when
standing water mosquito breeding sites around your residence: plastic or
other buckets and containers, jars, flower pot bases, tires, bird baths or
any vessel that holds water.
provide mosquitoes places to lay eggs, and in hot weather it only takes a
week before eggs will have turned into adults and flown away to look for a
blood meal, hopefully not you!
mosquitoes from your house and sleeping place
How West Nile Virus is
For additional information about public health
contact the EH&S public health advisors.