Food Handler Card Training FAQs


You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers. Check out some of our recent frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Food Handler Card Training.


What’s the new law?

Restaurants must now pay for all costs associated with its employees obtaining a Food Handler card. Costs may include:

  • training and exam time
  • any fee charged to obtain the card
  • the training product


How is my restaurant supposed to comply?


How much does a food handler card cost?


What am I responsible for paying for?


I thought my employees already needed a food handler card?


Who will enforce the law?


What if my restaurant is located in San Bernardino or Riverside?

Please contact your county health department as they have a county-specific program.


What if my employees work for me in restaurants in LA and San Bernardino and/or Riverside?

They may need multiple food handler cards; a ServSafe CA Food Handler card when working everywhere except in San Bernardino and Riverside where they will need a card specifically from those counties.  


What if my employee can’t pass? 


What languages does ServSafe offer the training and exam?


How much does ServSafe cost?


Is there a CRA member savings?

Yes! CRA Members save 20% on ServSafe products at Enter your CRA Members when you register for automatic savings. 

How long is the ServSafe course + Exam? 

The course is self-paced but approximately 90-120 minutes. The exam is typically 30-45 minutes but can take longer depending on the learner.


How do I track my employee’s time?


What if my employee already had a card when I hired them? 

That’s great. Typically, food handler cards are transportable with the employee. Ask your employee to bring a copy to you for your records. You can also search for cards on if they have a ServSafe Food Handler card. If the card is valid, that card will comply with the state law.


Can I request the employee have a card when they apply for their job? 



Can I ask the employee to have a card in my job posting?



Can I have a new hire train in the restaurant on an iPad?

Yes. That is a great way to manage the process. Invite your employee to clock in and then start the training and take the course. If your employee prefers, they can take the course over a few days of shifts in order to retain the information best.


Can I ask my employee to sign an acknowledgment that I have paid them for their training time and provided the course + exam to them?


Who will monitor whether or not I pay for my employee’s time?

Since this is a new law, it is difficult to say how an employee’s paid time is accounted for; however, if there are issues, it is possible they will be brought forward to your county Labor Commissioner’s Office.


Should I have them take the online training at home or at the restaurant? 

Best practice would be to have the employee take the course at the restaurant after they have clocked in.


Can I offer a one-time training in my restaurant for multiple staff at the same time?

Yes. CRA offers in-person training sessions. Contact our Training Manager.


How do I become a ServSafe Food Handler proctor and instructor?


I am a ServSafe Manager Instructor/Proctor, can I also training and administer the food handler exam?

No. You will also need to become a ServSafe Food Handler Instructor/Proctor.  Directions can be found online at


Why is the ServSafe Food Handler Card training and exam more expensive in San Diego?