Getting a Florida food handlers card, also known as a food handler certification, can be quite the headache.
Which restaurant employees need one? …What are the requirements? …How do you get one and where?
If you have these food handler certification questions, you’re not alone.
If there is any information, it’s extremely hard to find. There are a lot of government websites that are out of date… on top of a bunch of deceiving food safety courses scattered around online.
Fortunately, for those interested, we’ve personally reached out to the Florida Health Department to get specific details on all things food handler certification Florida.
Let’s hope this post helps clear up some of the confusion! Apron up, let’s get to it.
Florida Food Handler Requirements
The state of Florida does NOT require typical food workers at a food facility and/or restaurant to receive a food handlers card. Although some states nationwide have this requirement, Florida’s food safety laws are a little more lenient.
The only food handlers requirement the state of Florida enforces is specifically for restaurant managers and other supervisory positions.
You see, if you are a supervisor in a restaurant or non-retail food service establishment in the state of Florida, most likely you will be REQUIRED to take a state-approved Food Managers course.
According to Florida state law, at least one person with a Florida Food Managers certification MUST be present, at the facility, at all times.
Important: Keep in mind, some counties have different names for this (i.e. Food Protection Card, Food Managers Certification, etc.). Additionally, your local county is responsible for Food Manager regulations. Food Manager training, courses, and costs may vary depending on which county you are in or which course provider you choose.
This means the only people the state REQUIRES to receive any sort of food protection / food safety training are kitchen or restaurant managers and supervisors.
This state-wide law ensures that every food facility in the state has a supervisor and/or manager that is qualified in food safety practices… has an advanced knowledge of food handling procedures… and can generally guide other restaurant employees to follow suit.
Florida Food Handlers Certification Requirements Summary
We just covered a lot, so to recap, here are the main food handler certification Florida requirements:
- Your typical kitchen employee (server, line cooks, food prep, busers, dishwashers, etc.) does NOT need a Florida food handlers certificate.
- Most supervisory positions (head chefs, kitchen/restaurant managers) in Florida MUST obtain a state-approved Food Managers card.
- To receive a Food Managers card, you have to take one course from the list of state-approve course providers shown below
- Someone with a Food Managers card must be present, at the food facility, at all times.
- Visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/food-safety-and-sanitation/index.html for more information
Where to Receive a Food Handler Manager Certification Florida
To receive a Florida food managers card (also known as the food managers course, Florida food managers certification, or food protection card), you probably want to see this page, courtesy of the FL Health Department. Here you’ll find a whole page of requirements, legal definitions, and FAQs.
For those who want to get right to the punch, here’s the list of FL STATE-APPROVED food manager certification course providers.
- US Food Handler (Our recommendation)
- 360training (877) 881-2235
- AboveTraining/StateFoodSafety.com (801) 494-1416
- National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (800) 446-0257
- National Restaurant Association (800) 765-2122
- Prometric (800) 624-2736
Although many online sources have a food managers course, it’s always smart to double check if the course is state-approved.
The last thing you want is to take a Food Managers course, and then realize you took the wrong one… or worse, pay for a course you didn’t need to pay for!
FHC pro tip: If you can’t figure out which course to take from the list above, we always suggest to kitchen managers and supervisors to ask another manager or restaurant owner on which food manager course they prefer.
Those in the field of work will always know best, and sometimes they’re easier to get a hold of than your local county clerk.
Florida Food Handler Certification Benefits
So what if you’re not a supervisor or manager… is it still worth getting a food handlers certification?
Even if Florida does not require typical food workers or kitchen employees (line cook, food prep, servers, food runners) to receive a Florida food handlers card, it may still be in your best interest to become certified.
As a food worker who is on the hunt for a job, anything you can do to strengthen your resume is worth it.
By becoming certified in the safe handling of food with a food handlers license, you are proving to your future employer that you are serious about the food and drink industry and are someone that they should give a chance to.
How much does a FL food handlers card cost?
One great thing about food handlers cards is that they are VERY cheap. Often, you can get the card and complete a course for under $10.
Unfortunately though, cards often only last for 2-3 years.
Here at Food Handlers Card Help we generally suggest that anyone who works in a kitchen should get food handler certified regardless of state requirements.
If this peaks your interest, we often suggest getting certified via Learn2Serve. The course is pretty quick, and the test is reasonably easy. With Learn2Serve, you can have a food handlers card in less than 2 hours.
Plus, for under $10, the benefits significantly outweigh the costs in regards to the amount of credibility that a food handlers card lends your resume.
For more information on food handlers in general, please visit our homepage.