Food Approval

Policy and Applicability

University and Washington State policies allow for the purchase of meals and light refreshments for employees, students and official guests under certain criteria to include the source of funds, type of budget and purpose of the event. This guidance is provided to ensure that all food expenses charged to University budgets are allowable and appropriate for the funding source.

Many UW budgets are either not approved for food and/or alcohol purchases, or have some restrictions. Effective immediately, use this guide to ensure that all expenses charged to University budgets are allowable and appropriate for the funding source.  Only gift budgets will continue to be flagged for food approval.  Please see the FAQ for additional guidance regarding gifts, discretionary and grant budgets.

Guidance Matrix  
Budget Type 01 02 05 06 06 10 11 53
Common Budget Number Types General
University
UW Medical Center Grants &
Contracts
Gifts Discretionary Self-Sustaining Aux Ent and Service Funds -Self-Sustaining Agency
Budget Number Prefixes 01-07, 09-10, 73, 74, 75 08 20, 61-63, 66-68, 80 63, 65, 80, 82 64 01-07, 09, 10, 19

04, 14-16, 25

 

38
Scenario                
Food within per diem 3 3 2 1 4 3 3* 3
Food cost over per diem         4      
Alcoholic Beverages         4      
Food for Research     2 1 4      
Hosting and Entertaining     2 1 4      

1 = Food purchase allowable if budget is flagged for food approval.  New gift budgets will be flagged for food as appropriate by the Advancement Office when budget is set up.  In a MyFD Budget Profile, Food Approval = 1.  In FIN Budget Number Information, Grant Control Flag 10 = food approved. Gift budgets for capital building funds, scholarships or graduate fellowships are not eligible for food approval. If the budget is an endowment operating budget, please call Ping Tan (3-3530) in the Treasury Office for approval.

2 = Food purchase allowable when included in the proposal and funded by the sponsor or with written approval from the sponsors' authorized representative. Grant budgets may also be used for light meals and refreshments at meetings if technical information pertaining to the grant is disseminated, unless the sponsor specifically does not allow this type of food purchase (see For Federally Funded Research Projects below.)

3 = Food purchase allowable for training, recognition or business meetings, food approval form must be on file.  NOTE: For UW Medicine food purchases, use the Single Transaction Pre-Approval Form.

*Food purchases are unallowable on Recharge and Cost Center budgets (budget type 11, program types 20 - 23).  For additional guidelines relating to food purchases on Recharge and Cost Center budgets please visit MAA’s FAQs website. http://f2.washington.edu/fm/maa/faq

4 = Food purchase allowable on discretionary (64-xxxx) budgets for all of the scenarios above. Department policy may require Chair, Director, Dean or VP approval, which may be delegated to a Department Administrator.  Discretionary budgets do not require food approval flags or use of the food approval form.

Exceptions to the matrix where food IS allowable:
  • Budgets that have a programmatic requirement for food purchases, such as 09-xxxx conference/workshop budgets, budgets for meals for athletic teams, or other revenue budget food purchases that don’t fit the food approval form criteria. Department will keep a memo on file indicating the programmatic requirement for food purchase for each budget.
  • Fixed Price Surplus, Royalty Income and Clinical Medicine budgets may purchase food using the food approval form for events meeting the food approval form criteria below.
  • For Gifts or Grants that allow alcoholic beverages or over per-diem food costs, the anticipated cost for this expense are to be transferred into a 64-XXXX discretionary sub-budget (how-to is here).
  • Budgets used to purchase food for patients of UW Medicine or for research subjects.
  • Budgets used to purchase food for resale.
  • Budgets used to purchase food during study abroad programs.

Use the  food approval form for approval of one-time or recurring events requiring food purchases only for events meeting these criteria:

  • Recognition events (such as awards for improvements, or University employment milestones)
  • Training events, including student orientations
  • Business meetings to conduct UW business where a meal or light refreshment is an integral part of the official meeting
The food approval form must be signed by a Dean or Vice President, or with written delegated authority, by Departmental Directors, Chairpersons or Department Administrators. Approval forms for recurring events must be renewed annually and maintained in department files. Events not included in the food form criteria, such as food purchased for research, or from gifts and grants where food purchase is approved by the donor or sponsor, do not require food approval forms.
Central offices are available to assist departments:

Learn More About Food Approvals

Roles and Responsibilities

Conditions

For Meetings or Trainings

For Federally Funded Research Projects

For Recognition Events

Costs per Meal

Cost of Light Refreshments

Payments/Reimbursements

FAQs

Roles and Responsibilities

Purchasing compliance within budget and grant guidelines is the responsibility of the department.

Return to Top

Conditions

  • Food to support normal daily business of university employees, regularly scheduled meetings, open houses, or receptions for new employee can only be purchased from discretionary funding (64-XXXX budgets). Purchases of alcoholic beverages or over per diem amounts for food may only be purchased with discretionary funds. 
     
  • Food for hosting and entertaining may be purchased with discretionary budgets or on gift budgets with food flags.
  • Food for graduation events must be paid for with discretionary funds, or gift budgets with food flags if allowed by school or college policy.
     
  • Food purchases for lobbying a legislator or governmental official or elections or election celebrations are never permitted on any University funding source, including discretionary funds.

Return to Top

For Meetings or Trainings

  • The meal or light refreshments must be an integral part of an official University meeting or formal training session, such as a lunch speaker, or when obtaining meals away from the meeting location would be disruptive to event continuity, etc.

  • Attendance by the individuals(s) must be advantageous to the UW

  • The purpose of the event must be to conduct official UW business or to provide formal training to UW employees or non-instructional training to students

  • The meeting or formal training must be conducted at a location away from the place where the employee normally performs his/her work (such as the employee’s desk or cubicle). Acceptable locations include meeting and conference rooms.

Return to Top

For Federally Funded Research Projects

All conditions above must be met, and in addition, must demonstrate that technical information specific to the group's sponsored project is disseminated. For federal guidelines, refer to OMB A-21, section J32 & J17, http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a021/a21_2004.html

Return to Top

For Recognition Events

The event must include the formal presentation of a recognition award to one or more employees or students, such as successful completion of an extraordinary special project, acknowledgment of official University employment milestones (10+ years of service) or other outstanding achievement. Only light refreshments may be served at the event.

Return to Top

Costs per Meal

The meal expenditure or reimbursement may not exceed the travel per diem limit for the meal (including taxes and gratuity). Amounts over per diem may be reimbursed using a discretionary funding source only when approved by a Dean or Vice President (or by a Director, Chairperson or Administrator with written delegated authority) as department policy. If the meal is a recognition award, the amount of the meal per individual(s) being recognized is not limited to the per diem rate. However, only the meal expense for the individual(s) being recognized may be paid using University funds; the cost of meals for other attendees not being recognized must be charged to a discretionary funding source.

Return to Top

Cost of Light Refreshments

For recognition of employees, the total amount expended per recognition award, including light refreshments, is limited to the monetary level authorized in RCW 41.60.150 ($200 per individual or group receiving recognition). For example, if members of a team are being recognized, the amount expended for the light refreshments is limited to $200. Food served at a recognition event is restricted to light refreshments unless the actual recognition award is a meal.

Payments/Reimbursements

  • Use object code 0375 for meals or light refreshments, or 0501 for supplies.

  • Lists of attendees or invitees must be maintained by the department.

  • Off-campus providers (vendors) may be paid using:

  • On-campus providers may be paid via an Internal Sales Document, Cost Transfer Invoice or Journal Voucher

  • Reimbursements to employees when the total cost of meals/light refreshments (including taxes and gratuities) is less than $3500 can be submitted through eReimbursements.

 Return to Top

© 2014 Finance & Facilities, University of Washington     PRIVACYTERMS