Asked Questions
SF Health Network
Environmental Health

Food Safety Training Requirements

To comply with California Law, every retail food facility must ensure that:

  1. At least one(1) employee be certified in food safety by passing an approved Food Safety Certification examination
  2. All employees involved in the preparation, storage or service of food in a food facility must obtain a food handler card


Addititional information about each requirement is below.


Food Safety Certification

California Food Safety Law requires at least one employee at each retail food facility be certified in food safety by passing an approved examination. The certificate must be renewed every five years.

Who should be certified?

The certified person can be the owner, manager, chef, cook or any employee responsible for safe food handling and who may insure that other employees use proper food handling techniques.

Topics covered in the training

The intensive all-day training covers: the causes of food poisoning and ways to prevent it, time and temperature controls, cross contamination, cleaning and sanitizing, and pest control. Participation in the training does not guarantee passing of the exam.

Click here for Class Schedule and Registration Form (pdf)

Class information

All classes are held at 1390 Market Street, Suite 910, San Francisco, CA 94102. Each 8-hour class starts at 8:30 a.m. and usually (but not always) ends at 5:00 p.m. Classes are offered in either English or Cantonese Chinese languages, as indicated on the schedule.

If you would like to take the exam in Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese, you must CIRCLE that language on the Name Line of the registration form and enroll for class at least 30 days in advance.

Classes are always scheduled to full capacity. Therefore, choose your class date carefully before applying. Make the appropriate arrangements with your workplace and your family, and be sure to mark your calendar.

Once you are enrolled into a class, you may reschedule to another date after paying a penalty of $45, unless you have proof of a family emergency or verifiable medical condition. Course study materials and your enrollment confirmation letter will be sent to your mailing address.


Food Handler Cards

California law requires all individuals involved in the preparation, storage or service of food in a food facility to obtain a food handler card after taking a food safety training course and passing an exam. For a list of certified organizations that can provide the food handler training program, click here (pdf).

Letter to operators about food handler cards - English, Spanish, Chinese (pdf)