There are currently no food handler permit requirements for common restaurant employees according to current Kentucky food safety regulations.
IMPORTANT: Counties, on the other hand, have the right to impose their own food safety rules. Take Fayette County, for example who requires all employees in restaurants to receive a food handlers permit even though the state doesn’t require it.
These rules, of course, can often overlap and/or differ from county to county. It’s always smart to double check with your local health department. Click here for the Kentucky Health Department county directory to learn more about county-specific food handler permit requirements. For those living in Lexington, we’ll break down those details below.
⚠️ Searching online for Kentucky food handlers permits will lead to multiple sites claiming that you must have one, and that they have the test for you to take. Please use caution with most of these course providers. In some instances, they are trying to get you to pay for something that you do NOT necessarily need… or potentially something that isn’t accepted in your local jurisdiction.
What the state of Kentucky does require though, is that at least one person in an establishment receives a Food Manager’s Certificate, also known as a Certified Food Protection Managers (CFPM) card.
Some US states require everyone in the food facility to receive a food handlers card, even the dishwashers! But Kentucky’s food safety laws are fairly lenient in comparison to the rest of the country.
The state of Kentucky believes that if one person in a restaurant certifies as a Food Manager then they will be able to pass their knowledge of food safety on to the other employees in the restaurant.
So although you may not be required to receive a Kentucky food handlers card in your county or a food manager’s certificate… there are a few reasons why you still may want to be certified.
What is the Kentucky Food Handlers Permit?
The Kentucky food handlers permit, also known as the Kentucky food handlers card and/or license, is a certificate proving to both employers and public health inspectors that you are qualified to handle unpackaged food products that served to the general public.
How To Get a Food Handlers Card in Kentucky
- First, call your local health department just to double check if a food handlers card is required in your county. Chances are, you will have to take a county-approved food safety training course. Some are available online, while others must be taken at the local health department. So be sure you’re taking the right one.
- Next, choose the appropriate online food handler training provider and create an account
- Pay for their course (will usually costs somewhere between $10-$25)
- Take the training (can take up to 1-2 hours)
- Successfully pass their exam (most online courses require students to get a score of 70% at least)
- Print out multiple copies of your certificate.
- Provide your employer with a copy of your official Kentucky food handlers permit/ certificate.
Lexington Kentucky Food Handlers Permit
All service employees working for restaurant or food facility inside Lexington Kentucky are REQUIRED to have a food handlers permit.
This means that everyone who directly deals with unpackaged food products served to the general public in Lexington will have to obtain a permit.
Lexington Kentucky Food Handler Course Details
Food Handler testing in Lexington County is done only at the local Environmental Health Office. There are no online food handler courses available in Lexington county.
The course will include a 15-minute food safety training video… followed by a short written test.
Environmental Health office address: 650 Newtown Pike
Course Hours: 8:30-a.m.-4 p.m. ; Monday – Friday
Expiration: Permits are good for only three (3) years.
Lastly, Certified food managers (see below) are not required to obtain a food handler card.
To learn more, please visit the official Lexington Kentucky Food Handlers Permit information page.
Kentucky Food Managers Certification
Kentucky requires licensed retail food facilities to have at least one certified food manager on staff. The Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) card covers this requirement.
The Kentucky Certified Food Manager is the person in charge when present and they must be accessible by phone, text, and email when not physically present during operation.
In order to receive a food managers certificate/ CFPM card, one must take a state-approved food safety course for managers… and successfully pass their test.
Kentucky currently recognizes and accepts certifications from ONLY the following National ANSI Certified Food Manager programs:
- 360Training.com, Inc.
- National Registry of Food Safety Professionals
- National Restaurant Association
- Prometrics Inc.
Keep in mind, local county health departments are the regulatory bodies that oversees all food safety laws. Each county’s regulations may vary or evolve over the years.
Thus, it’s important to ALWAYS double check with your local health department on Kentucky food handling requirements, in addition to other retail food establishment specifics. Start here for more information.
Other Requirements That May Be Helpful:
- Good Communication Skills
- Being able to stand long periods of time
- Knowledge of basic food safety