The business of handling food involves a lot of intricacies and as such, a certain level of knowledge is needed in order to ensure that the food is handled in a wholesome manner. This is the main reason why some states in America requires food handlers to have a Food Handler card or license. If you work at a restaurant or handle food in a food selling or serving establishment, you’ll need a Food Handler Training course.

In terms of keeping food safe, it is very crucial to be a certified food handler. Knowing the principles of safe food handling is critical to the success of your business and the health of your customers. Unsanitary handling can lead to food contamination, food borne illnesses, lawsuits, and other problems that have the potential to harm the reputation and bottom line of your restaurant.

Food Handler Training is usually made for entry-level professionals in the food service industry, which include servers, chefs, cooks, cashiers, and even c-store clerks. In order to get the certificate, you will have to complete some hours of training that covers certain aspects of food safety. At the end of the training, the learner will have to take an exam to test his knowledge of the subject area. If he or she should pass, the learner will be issued a Food Handler’s Certificate document (or card).

State Requirements For Getting A Food Handlers License

1. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire,

New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Caroline, North, Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming offers the “Generic Food Handler Course” which is an indication that there is no requirement in these states.

2. In the state of California, a food handler who is hired on or after June 1, 2011, shall obtain a food handler card within 30 days from the date of hire. Each food handler shall maintain a valid food handler card for the duration of his or her employment as a food handle in addition, starting from January 1, 2012;

A food handler shall obtain a food handler card only from an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited training provider that meets ASTM International E2659-09 Standard Practice for Certificate Programs. These requirements do not apply to local jurisdictions that had a prior requirement for food handler such as San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. The Certification shall be subject to renewal every 3 years

3. Indiana: The Indiana food code requires each retail food establishment to provide food borne illness prevention training to at least one employee who has a primary oversight responsibility for food safety at the establishment. The certificate has to be renewed at least every 5 years. Getting a food handlers permit is a relatively easy task. Here are the steps to take.

Steps to Getting a Food Handlers License

1. Select the state you want to work in and learn the requirements for a food handler

The requirements for getting a food handlers license varies from state to state and as such you’ll want to check with your Department of Health to learn the state required certifications and courses.

2. Complete Training and Pass Exam

When you have familiarized yourself with the state-mandated requirements, you will then have to compete the training and the pass the exam. This can usually be done online. ServSafe is generally is a great resource to find out, based on where your restaurant is located, what the specific requirements will be, take online courses, and earn certifications. The ServSafe Food Handler Certificate verifies basic food safety knowledge and is for individuals in food handler employee-level positions. ServSafe Food Handlers certificate is almost recognized and accepted in all states in America.

3. Print Food Handler Certificate

If you pass the exam, then you can print your certificate right away and start using it. This is however a temporary license as the official one will come in the mail from your health department within 30 days.

4. Stay Up To Date on Renewal

A food handlers license does not last forever, it has an expiry date attached to it. Depending on which course and certificate you take, where the restaurant is located, and state laws, these expirations can vary. The National Restaurant Association recognizes the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification for a five-year period and the ServSafe Alcohol and ServSafe Food Handler Certificates for a three-year period.

Ajaero Tony Martins