How Can I Earn a Food Handler's License?
Working in a restaurant, grocery store, concession stand or any public place that serves food entails complying with state and local regulations. Such regulations help to ensure a safe and sanitary environment for the proper handling of food items. Read on to learn more about the licensing and training required for food handlers. Schools offering Art of Cooking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Definition of a Food Handler's License
In most cases, the term 'food handler's license' refers to a permit or card required to work with food. Food handler's may be regulated by the state, but regulation is typically handled at the county or city level. Requiring a food handler's card or permit is a safeguard for the public that helps the government ensure safe food handling practices are being followed. Safe food handling helps to reduce the transmission of foodborne illnesses and diseases.
While some jurisdictions require every person handling food to have a card or permit, it's also common for only one person per establishment to be required to hold a food handler's card or permit. In such cases, food safety and handling is the responsibility of that person, even if they are not the one directly handling the food.
Since requirements may be set by various agencies, they may vary widely; however, in almost all cases, you will have to pass an exam to earn a food handler's license. You may also need to complete an approved food handler's course.
Types of Programs
Completing a food handling course is often voluntary and serves as a way to learn about the topics that will be covered in the food handler's exam. A course can help you to learn about safe food handling practices, general food safety regulations, personal hygiene and disease prevention. During the course, you may review handbooks, watch videos and attend lectures. At the end of the course, you may take or schedule a licensure exam.
These programs may be offered online or in a classroom and may be available through restaurants, cafeterias or other businesses where food is served. Some colleges, particularly community colleges, also offer food handler programs. You might also seek courses through your state's health department. Usually, it takes less than a day to finish a food handling course.
Cards or permits may need to be renewed on a periodic basis. Renewal is usually mandatory and may entail passing another exam. While renewal periods can vary, you'll typically need to renew licensure every 2-3 years.
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