Food Handler Card

All food employees whose place of employment handles food, beverages, or utensils must obtain a Food Handler Card. The primary goal of the Food Handler Card Program is to prevent foodborne illness through education.

This requirement includes, but is not limited to:

  • Servers
  • Chefs/head chefs/cooks/head cooks
  • Bartenders
  • Hosts and hostesses who handle food

The following food employees may also need to have a California Food Handler Card:

  • Bussers
  • Supervisors (general manager or managers)

Managers who already have a Food Safety Manager Certification do not need a California Food Handler Card.

To obtain a Food Handler Cand, you must take an online course from an accredited provider. Cards are valid for three years from the date of issuance. The employers must keep a copy on file. The California Food Handler Card is the property of the employee, who can take it to another employer as long as the card is valid. The law does not require employers to pay for an employee’s time and expense to take the training and test.

Employees that work in the following facilities are not required to obtain a Food Handler Card unless they handle open food:

  • Temporary food facilities (food booths)
  • Certified farmers’ markets
  • Commissaries
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Licensed health care facilities
  • Public and private school cafeterias
  • Restricted food service facilities
  • Retail stores where most sales are from a pharmacy