What is Food Handler Training?
Any worker employed at an established food facility or mobile food service facility, needs to undergo a training course to become an accredited food handler. The state health department has approved a list of accredited training course providers in California that offer food handler training. On completing the handler training, the worker is issued a food handler training card by the agency. This card acts as a certificate that says the worker is trained in all food safety measures and is qualified to work at a food facility.
The handler training program is a 60-minute rigorous course that trains a worker in all food safety measures, public health guidelines, time temperature norms, and safe food management, including use of approved food ingredients and storage at a food facility. After the training, the food handler is required to write an examination that has 40 questions. The food handler will receive a food handler card if they manage to score above 70%.
Does Everyone Working in Food Service in California Need It?
California state has made it mandatory for all workers in the food service business handling food, or preparing or storing it, to have the California food handler card. According to Senate Bills 602 and 303, all food handlers in the state must undergo food handler training and obtain a license. Those food handlers who work at restaurants, eateries, bakeries, cafes, delis, and other food service establishments need to complete a handler training course. However, there are a few exemptions among food facility staff who do not need the California food handler card.
So which workers at a food service establishment need the California food handler card? The wait staff, chefs, cooks, bartenders, host/hostesses who handle food, bussers, supervisory/manager personnel and food warehouse stockers need this safety certification. And who is exempt from undergoing the food handler training in California? Groceries, retail stores and pharmacies, convenience stores, farmers' markets, and bed and breakfast facilities need not obtain food handler cards.
Did you know?:
- California food handlers must retake the online training program every three years across state California to maintain a valid food handler card certificate.
- Workers employed at a California food facility must get their food handler card within 30 days of employment to retain the job.
What do the Best California Food Handler Training Courses Offer?
The best food handler training courses are those that are accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). There are a number of food handler courses in state California that claim to provide online handler training. However, not all of these training programs are valid or are recognized by the public health authorities. It is therefore essential for a food handler to look for an ANSI accredited food handler course that covers all bases of retail food safety training.
Before signing up for the California food handler card, you need to know what the best food handler courses offer. The best food handler courses cover a variety of topics such as the importance of a food handler certificate, the California food code, basic food safety, employee health and safety, how to clean and sanitize in the food service business, preventing contamination, safe food handling practices, preparation and storage, service of food, and measures to prevent foodborne illness and health hazards.
The California food handler card is valid for three years. Course providers allow participants online access to their safety certification and permit them free download of their valid food handler card any time they choose. Some of the best training courses also offer free retests to food handlers in case they fail to clear the examination at the first go. A few handler training courses also offer scholarships to candidates who find it difficult to pay the handler training fee.
The Best Online Courses Offer-
- Free retests
- Anytime, anywhere certificate downloads
A Roundup of the Top 5- ZipFoodHandler.com
The ZipFoodHandler training and card certificate comes at an affordable price of $7.99 and can be completed within 90 minutes. The food handler card training is fun and interactive. It uses video recording and visual course content with audio narration to make learning easy. The food handler card curriculum is presented in a seamless PowerPoint format so that concepts are clear and comprehensible. After completing the training course, participants can smoothly segue to the test.
The handler training course offered by ZipFoodHandler offers participants two free attempts to retake the test. They only need to do this in case they fail to clear it with the minimum 70% score the first time. This ANSI-accredited food handler course is recognized by restaurant association across state California, except for the counties of Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino.
Premier Food Safety offers the California food handler card training at an affordable price of $7.95. This course can also be completed in 90 minutes. The Premier Food Safetyhandler program is valid in all state California counties, but for San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego. Premier Food Safety offers a separate online course for the food handler card that is valid in San Diego county. This online training provider gives a candidate two additional attempts to clear the examination, if they fail to secure the minimum 70% mark. However, after two failed attempts, one would have to pay for the course and test all over again. The card certificate is valid for three years and is approved by ANSI.
Make Sure it's Valid:
- There are a number of food handler certificate providers across California. However, one must look for an accredited online training program that is accepted by the American National Standards Institute, as well as by the local city county health department.
- In California, three counties do not accept the universal California food handler card. These are San Diego, San Bernardino, and Riverside County. It is best to confirm with the online training program if a course is valid for a particular location before signing up.
The State Food Safety offers an ANSI-accredited food handler card that takes only 75 minutes from start to end. The company gives a food handler two attempts at clearing the examination with a minimum score of 70 percent. The entire training program is conducted online and is offered in English and Spanish. The State Food Safety course costs $10 and is valid for three years.
The California food handler card issued by eFoodHandlers also takes 75 minutes to complete and is offered at $7.95. According to state California rules, the card is invalid in the three counties of Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino, where one has to apply for a different food handler card. eFoodHandlers offers unlimited retakes of the food handler training examination. However, after two failed attempts, one has to go through the online program all over again.
ServSafe offers the food handler training program in California for $15. The program is available in English, Spanish, and other popular languages. ServSafe allows three attempts to clear the food handler training. The online training program covers a host of subjects, such as basic food hygiene, time and temperature management, and safe handling of hazardous waste at a food facility.
Will My Food Handler Training and Card Be Valid Across California?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the California food handler card. The answer is NO. Not all county authorities accept the California food handler card. The public health departments of San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego have their own handler card laws. Other than these three exceptions, all restaurant associations across state California accept the California food handler card, which is valid for three years and is issued to an accredited food handler.
Exceptions to the Rule:
- Riverside County issues the food handler training certificate on its website after an online training and examination. The training course is available in English and Spanish, along with four other languages. The Riverside County also facilitates in-person food handler training. This is available only in English and Spanish.
- San Bernardino County only accepts a handler certificate issued by the San Bernardino Environmental Health Services. This card is valid for three years.
- San Diego does not accept all California food handler cards. The authorities have listed a few accepted training courses, such as ServSafe and 360training.