What is a Qualified Food Operator?
A Qualified Food Operator is a food operator employed in a full-time position who has demonstrated knowledge of safe food handling techniques. Full-time
position means 30 hours per week or the number of hours per week the food establishment is open for business, whichever is less. The qualified food
operator needs to be in working in a supervisory position which means that person directs and inspects the performance of food service workers.
What are the responsibilities of the Qualified Food Operator?
The Qualified Food Operator is responsible for operating the food service establishment, itinerant food vending establishment, and catering establishment
is responsible for ensuring training of food preparation personnel. The qualified food operator shall maintain written documentation of a training program
and training records of individual employees, and shall make these records available to the local health department upon request.
Does the food establishment need to keep a record of the food safety manager’s certification?
Yes, documentation shall be maintained on file at the food service establishment and provided to the local director of health, registered sanitation, or
authorized agent on request.
Does the Qualified Food Operator need to be present at the food facility at all times?
The Qualified Food Operator does not need to be present at the food establishment at all times but shall designate an alternate person in charge when they
are not able to be present.
Do I need to have a Qualified Food Operator employed before I open my business?
The law provides 60 days to ensure that a food facility has a Qualified Food Operator employed when a new business is started, change of ownership, or if
the certified food protection manager leaves the business.
What do I do if my Qualified Food Operator leaves the business?
A replacement Qualified Food Operator shall be employed within 60 days from the date of termination or transfer of the Qualified Food Operator.
Who is exempt?
- Any person who serves meals to individuals at registered congregate meal sites
- Any volunteer who serves meals for a nonprofit organization shall be exempt from the examination requirement
- Temporary food service establishments and special events sponsored by non-profit civic organizations such as, but not limited to, school sporting events, little league food booths, church suppers, and fairs.
- Soup kitchens that rely exclusively on services provided by volunteers are also exempt.