If you work for a restaurant in the state of New Mexico, you’ve probably heard of something called the New Mexico food handlers permit.
For those new to the industry, the New Mexico food handlers permit is a certification given to someone once they successfully complete a food safety course.
The permit allows you to enter the restaurant industry by proving that you have a basic knowledge of food safety.
Pretty simple, yeah? Not exactly.
Although the New Mexico food handlers permit is a simple concept, the process of obtaining one isn’t… and it can actually be quite confusing.
If there is any information online about the New Mexico food handlers permit, it’s pretty tough to find. After a simple google search, you’re met with deceiving online food safety courses, outdated government websites, and as always, a bunch of advertisements.
Because of this, we did the digging for you.
Here you’ll find all the important, accurate, and updated information on everything you need to know to become a food handler in New Mexico. This includes state and county requirements, common restrictions, card exemptions, helpful links, tips, and other resources.
Apron up. Let’s get to it, folks.
Is a Food Handlers Permit Required in New Mexico?
According to New Mexico state law, ALL food-related employees working for a state registered food establishment (i.e. restaurant) are REQUIRED to receive a state-approved Food Handler permit.
All new employees must get a New Mexico food handlers permit within 30 days of employment.
Note: If you are working inside Albuquerque or Bernalillo County, you do NOT have to receive a food handlers permit. Counties in New Mexico have the right to pass their own food safety regulations and therefore Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have crafted their own food safety guidelines apart from the states mandate.
This means that everyone outside of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County must take a state-approved food safety course, and subsequently obtain a food handlers permit.
Even though most U.S. states don’t have this requirement, New Mexico’s state-wide food and safety laws are a little more strict than others. New Mexico made this abundantly clear in 2019:
Food Employees (persons who handle food, utensils, and food contact surfaces), who do not qualify for an exemption… must have a food handler card beginning April 1, 2019 – Source
Government verbiage is often a mixed bag of confusion and chaos so we made it simple and a little more clear in the section below.
What type of employees are considered food handlers in New Mexico?
All employees that are directly involved in the storage, preparation, or service of unpackaged foods are food handlers. Simply put, nearly everyone in a food facility and/or restaurant must acquire a New Mexico food handlers card.
Often times, restaurant owners and managers will require even the host and/or dishwasher to receive training!
If someone working in a facility is not a food handler on a regular basis, but fills in as a food handler when needed, they must have a New Mexico food handlers card as well.
To break it down even further, here’s a list of job titles that REQUIRE food handlers training in the state of New Mexico
- Food Prep
- Food Runner
- Line Cook
- Supervisor (if they don’t already posses a food managers card)
- Kitchen Manager (if they don’t already posses a food managers card)
- Host/ Hostess who handle food
- Food-truck workers
- Storage workers who deal with unpackaged foods
Where to Get Your New Mexico Food Handlers Card: Training & Course Providers
According to New Mexico state law, all food related employees MUST receive food safety training from an ANSI-accredited organization unless you are in Albuquerque or Bernalillo county.
All ANSI-approved course providers will grant you a food handlers card after you have successfully passed their exam (also known as a food handlers assessment quiz).
To save everyone some time, we’ve hand-picked our favorite New Mexico food handler training providers:
For the complete list of New Mexico state-approved food handler training providers, simply click here.
Who does NOT need a food handlers permit in New Mexico?
Those that are NOT required to receive a New Mexico food handlers permit are mainly (1) unpaid volunteers, (2) those who already posses a certified Food Managers card, or (3) those working for a temporary food establishment.
Additionally, as explained in the sections above, those who work in Albuquerque or Bernalillo DON’T have to obtain a food handlers permit. But keep in mind, employers may still require it despite local/ county regulations.
For the complete list of state food handler exemptions – just click here.
Pro tip: If you are unsure, please be sure to double check with your employer or manager. They (should) know these things.
How to Get Your Permit ONLINE:
- Select an ANSI approved course provider. We recommend all employees to ask the person in charge of the food establishment which training they prefer.
- Pay the course fee, and take the training and test online. (Course details are provided in this post)👇
- Once you’ve successfully completed the test you’ll get a certificate from the online course provider, not from the county.
- Print out multiple copies of your certification or save the file to your desktop at home. This is just a safety measure, just in case you lose your original New Mexico food handlers card.
- Provide your employer with a copy of your certificate.
Nearly all New Mexico food handlers permit programs are available online and are easily accessible through many sources.
The training and examination usually takes anywhere between 2 to 3 hours to complete. But they can take longer if you wish to closely study and review the information to be better prepared for the final examination/ quiz
The training/course(s) are followed by a 40-question multiple-choice quiz on all things food preparation and food safety. In order to successfully pass the New Mexico food handlers quiz (also known as the food handler assessment), students must answer AT LEAST 30 questions correctly. This means you must get a 75% in order to pass!
Important: Please keep in mind, grade requirements vary depending on which course you take. Almost all New Mexico food safety tests require a 70-80% score at minimum.
Most New Mexico food safety courses allow you to take the quiz twice. In fact, training providers like ServSafe allows you to take the quiz over as many time as you’d like until you pass.
Also, be sure to take advantage of our practice exams we provided in the section below. (practice makes perfect!)
How much does the New Mexico Food Handlers Card cost?
Online food safety courses in New Mexico range anywhere between $5-15. If you’re about to take a food safety course that costs more than $15, we strongly urge you to reconsider as there are cheaper course options available online.
New Mexico Food Handlers Practice Tests
For your convenience, we’ve put together the top New Mexico food handlers card practice tests. Often, these practice tests are almost identical to the real test you will have to take:
Is Your Texas Food Handlers Permit Expired or Lost?
If you lost your New Mexico food handlers permit, just contact your course provider and ask for a copy. The other option is to simply log back into your course provider account using the same username and password as before, and access their printing features. Always remember to print duplicate copies of your original food handlers card.
In New Mexico, your food handlers card is valid up to the expiration date listed on the final certificate given (usually 3 years). In order to renew your permit, you will have to sign up for another state-approved food safety course and pass their test all over again! This ensures that everyone in the state is stays up to date with proper food safety procedures.
Remember, food handler education results in more qualified food-related employees, thereby reducing the risk of food-borne illness outbreaks caused by improper food preparation and handling techniques.
For more information, please contact your Local City Clerk’s office… Or visit our Food Handlers homepage.