WHO? If you work in a restaurant in California and prepare, store or serve food, you must have a California Food Handler Card by July 1 to work. This includes most restaurant jobs, such as servers, chefs, head chefs, head cooks, cooks, bussers, bartenders, hosts and hostesses who handle food and supervisors, such as the general manager or managers. Managers who already have a food protection manager certification don’t need a California Food Handler Card. WHAT? Workers receive a California Food Handler Card after taking a basic food safety training course and passing a test with a score of 70 percent or better. Only three providers can issue a California Food Handler Card at this time:
National Restaurant Association (ServSafe California Food Handler Program)
If you have questions or concerns about whether a company is approved to issue a valid California Food Handler Card, contact your local health department.
Once you have a card, provide a copy to your employer to keep on file. They will have to show the cards during health inspections.
WHEN? By law, food handlers hired before June 1 must have a food handler card by July 1. Food handlers hired on or after June 1 must have a food handler card on file within 30 days of hire. WHERE? California Food Handler Cards are accepted everywhere in California except Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties where local programs already exist. WHY? The law is intended tocreate a statewide standard for safe food handling in California foodservice establishments. HOW? Go online at www.FoodHandlerUSA.com for the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe California Food Handler Program course and test. It’s simple and affordable at $15. The registration and payment process is in English, but the course and assessment is available in Spanish. You need a major credit card to pay.
Contact the ServSafe hotline with questions at 866.901.7778.
After passing the test, you can download and print an electronic certificate and card immediately to provide to your employer.
Go to www.calrest.org/training for a schedule of classroom-style ServSafe California Food Handler trainings and tests offered across the state.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who pays? The law does not require employers to pay for an employee’s time and expense to take the training and test. The California Food Handler Card is the property of the employee, who can take it to another employer as long as the card is valid. How long is the card valid? Cards are valid for three years from the date of issuance and are accepted everywhere except Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties where local programs already exist. Who enforces the law? Local health departments enforce the law. Who is exempt from the law? Some foodservice employees are exempt from the California Food Handler Card law requirement, including food handlers in Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, where local requirements exist. Also food facilities that are subject to a collective bargaining agreement with its food handlers and food handlers who are employed farmer’s markets and more.
Questions? The National Restaurant Association has a Spanish-speaking customer service hotline for workers who have questions about the ServSafe California Food Handler Program. Call 866.901.7778, or e-mail email@example.com.
Find quick answers to your questions about the CRA and navigating calrest.org.