There’s not a whole lot of information online that breaks down what a New York food handlers license is… and whether it is required state-wide or not.
And if there is any information, it’s extremely hard to find. There are way too many government websites that are out of date… on top of a bunch of deceiving food safety courses if you ask us.
Fortunately, for those interested, we’ve personally reached out to the New York State Health Department to get specific details on all things New York food handlers licenses.
Let’s hope this post helps clear up some of the confusion! So apron up, let’s get to it. 👍
PS – If you live in New York City, jump over to our dedicated post on the NYC Food Protection Card process.
New York Food Handlers License Requirements
The state of New York does NOT require typical food workers at a food facility and/or restaurant to receive a food handlers license. Although some states nationwide have this requirement, New York’s food safety laws are a little more lenient.
The only food handlers requirement the state of New York 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 New York, most likely you will be REQUIRED to take a county-approved Food Managers course.
According to New York state law, at least one person with a 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 vary depending on which county you are in.
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… and has an advanced knowledge of food handling procedures.
We just covered a lot, so to recap, here are the main New York food handler license requirements:
- Your typical kitchen employee (server, line cooks, food prep, busers, dishwashers, etc.) does NOT need a New York food handlers license.
- Most supervisory positions (head chefs, kitchen/restaurant managers) in New York MUST obtain a county-approved Food Managers card.
- To receive a Food Managers card, double check with your county health department on specifics (If you live in NYC, we made a dedicated post just for you folks, as the city’s process is a little different).
- Someone with a Food Managers card must be present, at the food facility, at all times.
Where to Receive a Food Managers Card (aka New York Food Protection Card)
To receive a food managers card (also known as the food managers course, or food protection card), you must contact your local county’s health department.
Although many online sources have a food managers course, it’s always smart to double check with your local municipality on what they require. New York food manager courses vary county to county. And some counties even have their own food safety course that is provided with no cost!
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 there’s no county specific food managers course, we always suggest to kitchen managers and supervisors to always 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.
New York Food Handlers License Benefits
So what if you’re not a supervisor or manager… is it still worth getting a food handlers card?
Even if state does not require food workers to receive a New York food handlers license, 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 NY food handlers card cost?
A great perk about food handlers cards is that they are VERY cheap. Often, you can get the card and complete a course for under $10.
There is a bit of a catch however, as cards generally only last for 2-3 years.
Here at Food Handlers Card Help we generally suggest that all kitchen employees should become 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.