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Ohio State University Extension


Food and Meal Policy

May. 27, 2021

 University policy for the purchase of food for various functions:

The expenditure policy is the governing document that includes the purchase of food and can be found here:  OSU Expenditure Policy.  The guiding principles for the purchase of food on university funds include:

  • Business Meals - small group to discuss business and at least one non-university person present. The non-university person must have a documented business reason for being present.  Examples include Advancement meeting with donors, interview candidates, etc.
  • University Functions
    • Meetings with external stakeholders (Boards, Alumni, Volunteers, students, community groups)
    • Employee only functions such as workshops, orientations, seminars, retreats.  These should be on an occasional and non-recurring basis.  Providing food at a regular weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings of university employees is prohibited.
  • Non-University functions – the university is hosting an educational conference/seminar of non-university participants and registration fees are collected. Examples include tax school, conferences, and seminars where departments host for industry-based discussion, research, extension.
  • On the job meals - food can be provided to employees experiencing peak business periods when staff may be temporarily required to work non-traditional schedule, an extended schedule and/or continuously be on-site due to nature of event. 
  • Overnight Travel Meals – guided by travel policy, per-diem.


Please avoid the purchase of food for the following:

  • Regularly scheduled meetings of university employees only.
  • Stocking the office with snacks for use by university employees.
  • Going-away parties for non-retiree departures (student employees).
  • Holiday meals and lunches for departments unless there is a specific business purpose for the gathering, and it fits under the non-recurring gathering of university employees.