There is no Massachusetts food handler certification requirement for common restaurant employees according to current Massachusetts food safety regulations.
What the state of Massachusetts does require though, is that at least one person in an establishment receives a Food Manager’s Certificate, also known as the Certified Food Protection Managers (CFPM) card.
🚨 Important: Searching online for the Massachusetts food handler certification will lead to multiple sites claiming that you must have one, and that they have the test for you to take. Most of the websites are incorrect. And are trying to get you to pay for something that you do NOT necessarily need. Although some US states require everyone in the food facility to receive a food handlers permit, Massachusetts’s food safety laws are relatively lenient.
The state of Massachusetts 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 inside the restaurant or kitchen.
So although you may not be required to receive a Massachusetts food handler certification or a food manager’s certificate, there are a few reasons why you still may want to be certified.
What is the Massachusetts Food Handlers Certificate?
The Massachusetts food handler certificate, also known as the Massachusetts food handlers card and/or permit, is a certificate proving to employers and public health inspectors alike that you are qualified to handle unpackaged food products that are served to the general public. Although the state doesn’t require the Massachusetts food handler permit, some restaurant mangers and owners may still make it mandatory in order to receive employment.
Food Manager Certification Massachusetts Requirements
Massachusetts requires licensed retail food facilities to have at least one certified food manager on staff. And some counties requires at least one certified food manager on-premises during all hours of operation. A Massachusetts 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, one must:
- Take a state-approved food safety course (see below for courses)
- Pay the course fee
- Successfully pass their test
Massachusetts currently recognizes and accepts certifications from 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 body that oversees all food safety laws. And each county’s regulations may vary or evolve over the years.
According to the state’s Massachusetts Food Protection Manager Certification Exam and Trainer Directory (DOCX 53.78 KB), certificates expire every 5 years.
It’s ALWAYS important to double check with your local health department on Massachusetts food handling requirements. You can find a list of all Massachusetts county health departments HERE.
Other Requirements That May Be Helpful:
- Good Communication Skills
- Being able to stand long periods of time
- Knowledge of basic food safety