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Food Safety Training Requirements

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

  1. At least one employee be certified in food safety by passing an approved Food Safety Manager Certification, and
  2. All other employees involved in the preparation, storage or service of food in a food facility must obtain a Food Handler Card


Food Safety Certification Examination

Who should be certified as a Food Safety Manager?

The certified person (Certification Candidate) 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.

The Certification Process

To become a Food Safety Manager, the Certification Candidate must complete an 85-question certification exam with a score of 75% or higher. The certification exam must be one approved by the American National Standards Institute.

The certificate must be renewed every five years.

A training class is not required to participate in the certification examination.

San Francisco Department of Public Health Certification Services

The San Francisco Department of Public Health provides a 5-hour training to prepare Certification Candidates to take the certification exam. 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.

At the conclusion of the class, a certification exam is given.

Certification Candidates may also choose to take the certification exam without the class.

To find out more about these services, please see the Food Safety Certification Class Schedule and Registration.


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. ANSI Accrediation maintains a list of certified organizations that can provide the food handler training program.

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