California Food Handler Training: Frequently Asked Questions

20160217_california_FAQDo you have questions? We have answers! With help from the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health and the Contra Costa Health Services, we found out what it is you want to know most regarding food handler requirements. We’ve done the translating to Layman’s terms and we think you’ll want to see this. Here are a few things you should know about food handler training in California and how it applies to you.

  1. Who is considered a food handler in California?
    A food handler is a person who handles, prepares, serves, sells, or gives away food for human consumption. Don’t let the position title confuse you—a food handler could also be someone who buses tables or washes dishes. Sometimes food handlers are referred to as food employees or food workers. It is the responsibility of a food handler to ensure that food is kept safe from the hazards it can encounter at every level of its preparation.
  2. What is a California food handlers card?
    Simply put, a food handlers card is a document used to prove that a food worker has been trained to provide safe food service. You may obtain your card after you have taken an accredited food handler training and passed an assessment. Your California food handlers card allows you to be a food handler in the state of California (with the exception of Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties).
  3. What is food handler training?
    Food handler training covers the main Do’s and Don’ts of food service; a typical course includes, but is not limited to, topics such as foodborne illness, personal hygiene guidelines, and food contamination prevention. When you complete the StateFoodSafety California Food Handlers Card Training, you receive a State of California Food Handler Card, which you may then print.
  4. Who needs to obtain a California food handlers card?
    Food handler training is more than just a suggestion—California law requires that all food employees complete an accredited training, pass an assessment, and obtain a food handlers card. Basically, if you work with food, food equipment, or food-contact surfaces in the state of California, you need to obtain a California food handlers card.
  5. How do you get a food handlers card in California?
    After you complete the California Food Handler Card training and pass the test, you will receive your card.
  6. Who is exempt from California food handler training?
    Certain groups are exempt from the food handler training requirement including temporary food facilities, commissaries and grocery stores, licensed health care facilities, and anyone who holds a valid Manager’s Food Safety Certification. For a full list of exemptions, see the California Food Handler Card Guidelines.
  7. What is an accredited food handler training course?
    An accredited food handler training course is one that has been authorized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). StateFoodSafety is ANSI accredited and is an approved provider for food handler training in California. In other words, you can trust us to provide you with the high-quality training you need!
  8. Where is my California food handlers card valid?
    When you take an accredited food handler training course, your California food handlers card is accepted everywhere in the state of California except for Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties. If you work in these counties, you are required to get a county-specific food handlers card. Even if your card was issued outside of the state of California, as long as you received ANSI accredited training, you only need one card.
  9. When do I need to have a California food handlers card?
    Food handler training must be complete within 30 days of starting work.
  10. Why is food handler training required in California?
    California food safety laws require food workers to get food handler training because every step toward food safety education is a step away from preventable foodborne illness outbreaks. After completing food handler training and passing a California food handlers test, employees are more qualified in their food preparation and handling. Food handler training is a requirement because food safety is a requirement… and we support any effort to preserve food safety!
  11. Are courses available in any other language besides English?
    Yes! English is just one of the 7 languages available for the StateFoodSafety California Food Handlers Card Training. Other language options include Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and American Sign Language. Choose your preferred language in the “Select Course Language” menu.

There you have it—the top questions and answers regarding food handler training in California. Hopefully you have a better understanding of what is expected of you and what you can expect from an accredited training course. Purchase your StateFoodSafety State of California Food Handlers Card Training by clicking “Begin training”.

Click here to begin your California food handler card training

Need more information?
Read more about the California ANSI standards here. Visit the Official California Legislative Information website to read the California Food Handler Card Law. Group training options are also available here.

Updated: July 10, 2019 — 10:09 pm
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