So you need a food handlers card. Maybe you just got your first job, or maybe you’ve worked in the industry for years and need to renew your certificate.
Whatever your situation, you’re not alone. As of May 2019, there were about 1.2 million food workers in Texas. To put that in perspective, that means almost 10% of all working Texans are employed in the foodservice industry.
Who’s required to get a food handlers license?
Texas state law requires every food worker to get a food handlers card (also known as a food handlers license or permit) within 60 days of starting work.
Don’t let the job title fool you — a “food handler” is anyone who works at a food establishment in a non-managerial position. Whether you’re preparing food, serving food, or just bussing tables, you’ll need to get your food handlers certificate.
There are a few exceptions to the statewide requirement. You don’t need a food handlers card if any of the following situations apply to you:
- You’re a volunteer rather than a paid employee (if that’s the case, you might want to look into our free food safety course for volunteers)
- You work at a temporary food establishment that’s open for two weeks or less each year (such as a food stand that’s only open for a specific event or celebration)
- You work at a food establishment that only sells pre-packaged food
- Your job is to aid in activities of daily living (including, but not limited to, certified nurse assistants)
If you’re required to have a food handlers card and you don’t get one, it can hurt the business where you work. You might get a lower score during a health inspection, for example. Or you might make a mistake that causes a customer to get sick.
Where can I get an approved card?
Texas has two criteria for food handler training. Your training must either be approved by your local health department or accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). As long as the program has been approved or accredited, it will meet the legal requirements for food handler training.
Sometimes people take a food handler training class from an instructor. But the easiest and fastest way to get your card is online. You can get your Texas Food Handlers Card from StateFoodSafety in just over an hour.
The nice thing about online training is that it’s accessible 24/7. You can go through the training at your own pace, stopping and starting as needed. Our system automatically saves your progress so you can continue right where you left off.
We offer the training in eight languages: English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, American Sign Language (ASL), Tagalog, and Serbo-Croatian. After you purchase the course on our website but before you start watching it, you’ll be asked to choose your preferred language for training.
About the Texas food handlers training
The food handler training and test cover a variety of topics, including:
- How to keep your hands, body, and clothing clean to protect food from contamination
- How to recognize people who are highly susceptible to foodborne illness
- What symptoms and illnesses you must report to a manager before going to work
- How to identify Time/temperature Control for Safety (TCS) foods and prevent bacterial growth in those foods
- How to maintain a sanitary work environment
Many of these topics will seem like common sense, such as wearing clean clothes to work. But others may require a bit more study on your part, like the FDA’s recommended cooking temperatures.
Study aids for the food handlers test
We offer several resources on our website that can help you prepare for the final test. After you pass, you may want to download and print these posters to keep as a reminder of what you learned.
In summary, the process of getting an approved food handlers card in Texas is simple! You can get it through any ANSI-accredited or health department-approved training program. Get your license online in just over an hour through StateFoodSafety’s accredited course.
— Jessica Pettit