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What is a California Food Handlers Card?
The California Food Handlers Card is a certificate issued to employees upon successful completion of a one and a half hour training and a final test with a score of 70% or higher.
Who is considered a food handler?
A “food handler” is defined as any individual who is involved in the preparation, storage, or service of food in a food facility.
However, the following statutory exceptions apply for food handlers in:
The California Food Handler Card Law is applicable to all food handlers who work in California except for those in Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. For those who work in those counties, please contact your local health department for more information.
How to get a Food Handler Card in California
1. Register for online training
2. Complete the training and pass the 40-question test
3. Download and print your Food Handlers Card!
Option 2 - Register for a live class and food handler test by calling our toll-free number 800-676-3121
How much is the California Food Handlers Card online training?
The retail cost of the Food Handlers Card is $6.95 per person, and it includes the training, the test, and the Food Handlers Card upon successfully passing the test with a 70% or better. The entire process is done online on a computer, and the certificate can be printed at home or from any computer that has a printer.
Do I have to complete the training all at once?
No, you may start training and review a few chapters, log out of your account and resume the training at a different time. All your progress will be saved.
When will I get my Food Handlers Card?
You will be able to download and print your Food Handlers Card as soon as you finish the training and pass the final test.
What if I don’t have a printer at home to print my Food Handler Card?
If you don’t have access to a computer with a printer, you can still take the training online and, once you have passed the test, we can mail a printed copy of your California Food Handler Card for an additional fee of $5.
When will my card expire?
The food handler card is valid for 3 years before you need to renew.
Is my card valid anywhere in California?
Yes, you may use your Food Handlers Card to work in any food service establishment in California, with the exception of San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego. These counties issue their own Food Handler Cards.
I need to get my Food Handlers Card but I do not have a computer, what can I do?
You can attend one our public food handler classes and take the food handler test there. To register, just call us at 800-676-3121
If you prefer to complete your training online, here are a few suggestions:
· Go to your local library – computers are available for use to the public.
· Ask a friend if you could borrow their computer for a few hours.
· Talk to your supervisor about using a computer at work.
Do you offer a classroom option to get the food handlers card?
Yes. You can complete you food handler training by attending one of our classes and taking the test there.
Classes are held from 10-3pm in several locations. Class registration fee is $35.
I am a part-time or temporary employee. Am I required to get a Food Handlers Card?
Yes, all food handlers, regardless of how many hours they work, are required to obtain a Food Handler Card, unless exempt.
Is my employer responsible for paying for my training and Food Handler Card?
No. The law does not require employers to pay for their employees training. As a food handler, you are responsible for your own training and are required by law to maintain a valid food handler card for the duration of your employment.
I work for multiple establishments. Do I need a Food Handlers Card for every single one of them?
Generally, no. Your food handler card will be issued under your name and will be valid for 3 years, regardless of whether you start working for a different employer or work for two or more restaurants. However, if any of the establishments you work for is located in the counties of San Bernardino, San Diego or Riverside, which have their own training requirements, you will need to obtain a Food Handler Card to work there. If you work in San Diego, Riverside or San Bernardino, AND also work in a restaurant outside these three counties, you are required to obtain a local food handler card for these three counties, as well as a California Food Handler Card to work for the restaurant located outside of San Diego, Riverside or San Bernardino.
I currently work at a restaurant located in San Diego and hold a specific San Diego Food Handlers Card. Am I required by law to get a California Food Handler Card also?
Yes, if you work for a restaurant outside San Diego County, such as Orange County, you need to get a California Food Handlers Card in addition to the San Diego County Food Handler Card you already have. This same rule applies if you are currently working for the counties of San Bernardino or Riverside and working for a restaurant located outside of those counties.
I work as a volunteer at a soup kitchen, food bank or volunteer run restaurants. Do I require a Food Handler Card?
No, volunteers are exempt from obtaining a food handlers card. The law only applies to employees who have been hired by food service establishments.
Are grocery store employees required to get a Food Handler Card?
No, grocery stores are exempt from the California Food Handler Card law.
I work at a demonstration booth serving food samples at a grocery store. Am I required to get a California Food Handler Card?
No. Grocery store employees are exempt and demonstration companies are not permitted as food facilities.
I currently hold a valid Manager’s Food Safety Certification. Do I need a California Food Handlers Card?
No. The Food Manager Certification is a higher, more comprehensive certificate training that meets and exceeds the Food Handler Card law requirements; therefore you are not required to obtain the Food Handler Card.
Are there any exceptions to the California Food Handler Card Law?
Food handlers employed at any of the following are exempt from the law:
· Temporary food facilities (food booths),
· Certified farmers’ markets,
· Commissaries, grocery stores (including convenience stores),
· Licensed health care facilities,
· Mobile support units,
· Public and private school cafeterias,
· Restricted food service facilities,
· Retail stores where a majority of sales are from a pharmacy,
· Venues with snack bar services in which the majority of sales are from admission tickets (excluding any area in which restaurant-style sit-down service is provided),
· Certain food facilities with approved in-house food safety training,
· Food facilities subject to a collective bargaining agreement,
· Any city, county, city and county, state or regional facility used for the confinement of adults or minors, including, but not limited to, a county jail, juvenile hall, camp, ranch, or residential facility,
· An elderly nutrition program, administered by the California Department of Aging, and
· Food handlers subject to the local food handler programs in the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego and food handlers holding a valid Manager’s Food Safety Certificate pursuant to current food safety law. The definition therefore effectively includes most restaurant employees such as those holding the positions of, but not limited to: wait staff, chefs, head cooks, cooks, bussers, bartenders, host/hostesses that handle food, beverage pourers (including alcoholic beverage pourers), and supervisory personnel, such as the general manager or managers (unless they are certified under the existing food managers certification program).
What documentation is my employer required to keep?
Your employer is responsible for maintaining accurate records that all food handlers employed by the establishment hold a valid California Food Handler Card. An example of proper documentation would be to keep a copy of each food handler’s card on file, so it is available upon request to the next health inspector.
To schedule your training, please give us a call at 800-676-3121
FOR EMPLOYERS – Managers/Owners
When do my employees need to get their California Food Handler Card?
All food handlers are required to obtain a food handler card within 30 days after their date of hire.
Some of my employees don’t speak English. Can they get the card?
Yes, our online training is also available in Spanish, Korean and Chinese.
Do you offer special corporate rates?
Yes. We offer group discounts for the online training course and private on-site classes.
If you have a group of 20 or more employees who need to be trained, please call us to receive a special group discount
Private on-site classes are a little more expensive, but it is worth considering if you have a medium to large sized business. For more information, call 800-676-3121 or request a quote.
As an employer, am I required to pay for employees’ Food Handler training and test?
No, the California Food Handler Card Law does not require you to pay for your employees. However, if an employer avails itself of the exemption provided in the law authorizing employers to use a food safety training program approved for use in another state (as specified), then the training must be provided during normal work hours, at no cost to the employee.Hide