In the state of Texas, obtaining a food handlers card (also known as a food handlers certificate) can be quite the headache.
But not anymore.
We want to make the Texas food handlers card process as simple as possible. Don’t waste time scanning through outdated government or deceiving course-provider websites. Here, you’ll find all the accurate, updated and important information needed to efficiently to earn yourself a Texas food handler card.
Saddle up, let’s dive in. Yee-haw! 🤠
Texas Food Handler Card Requirements
In the state of Texas, EVERY county requires ALL paid food-related employees (part-time or full-time) to obtain a state-approved food handlers card. Although some states in the U.S. don’t have this requirement, Texas food and safety laws are a little more strict than most.
Simply put, everyone who handles food for a food establishment and/or restaurant in Texas MUST complete a state-approved food safety course. After successful completion of the course and examination, you will then be granted a food handlers card by the course provider.
Important: For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Texas state-approved food handler courses on this post in a couple sections below.
All new Texas food handler employees have 60 days from the start of employment to earn a food handlers card. For an example of what that official certification will look like at the end of the day, click here (pdf).
Keep in mind all Texas food handler cards expire two years from the date of issuance, unless the expiration date is on the certification itself says otherwise. Most Texas state-approved food handler cards, as shown on the final certificate, will expire after two years.
ALL food handler cards earned outside the state of Texas are NOT valid, unless it is ANSI-accredited or approved by TXDSHS. (More details on state-approved ANSI and TXDSHS course-providers are provided below 👇👇)
What type of employees are considered a food handler in Texas?
By Texas state law, any PAID employee working for a restaurant, that deals directly with unpackaged food product(s) is considered a food handler.
Here’s the definition of food handler, courtesy of the Texas Department of State Health Services (TXDSHS):
Food employee is an individual working with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces under TFER §228.2(56).
This means that all employees that are directly involved in the storage, preparation, or service of unpackaged foods is a food handler. Simply put, nearly everyone in a food facility and/or restaurant must receive an Texas food handlers card.
Many times, restaurant owners will even require the host or hostess 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 Texas 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 Texas:
- Line Cook
- Food Prep
- Food Runner
- 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
Who does NOT need a food handlers certification in Texas?
Those that are NOT required to receive a Texas food handlers card are mainly (1) unpaid volunteers, (2) those who already posses a certified Food Managers card, and (3) workers in food establishments that only serve pre-packaged items.
Additionally, (4) employees working for a temporary food establishment, in DSHS jurisdiction, do NOT have to receive training as well.
**Keep in mind, if you work in a non-restaurant facility (nursing homes, hospitals, schools, retail food stores, etc.) in the state of Texas but directly work with unpackaged food products, you are STILL required to receive a food handlers card. If you are unsure, please be sure to double check with your employer or manager.
Where to Get Your Texas Food Handler Certification: Training & Course Providers
The state of Texas requires food workers to receive their food handlers training from an ANSI-accredited program or TXDSHS approved programs. ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institution. How fancy, right?
For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of the top online ANSI-accredited and TXDSHS certified food handler card programs in the state:
- US Food Handler – Food Handlers Online Program (Our recommendation)
- 360training.com, Inc. – Food Handler Training Course
- ACE Food Handler – Food Handler Training
- National Restaurant Association – ServSafe Food Handler Program
- Rserving – Food Safety for Handlers
As shown in the links above, there’s a lot of courses to choose from. If you’re still lost on which course to receive training from, ask around your workplace! Your fellow kitchen colleagues and/or management should have a good idea on what’s best. 🙂
Steps to get an Texas Food Handlers Card (aka Food Handlers Certificate) online
- Click on this link to select an ANSI-accredited or TXDSHS certified online provider. We recommend you ask the person in charge of the food service business which training they accept/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 Texas food handlers card.
- Provide your employer with a copy of your certificate.
All Texas food handlers card programs are available online… and are readily accessible through many sources.
The training and course itself can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to complete. But they can indeed take longer if you wish to study and review important information in order to be better prepared for the final exam.
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 Texas 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. Most Texas food safety tests require a 70-80% at minimum.
Are you nervous yet? Well don’t be. Many Texas 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. 👇👇 (As they always say, practice makes perfect!)
How much does the Texas Food Handlers Card cost?
Online food safety courses in Texas range anywhere between $5-10. If you are taking a food safety course that costs more than $10, we strongly urge you to reconsider as there are cheaper course options available.
Texas Food Handlers Practice Tests
For your convenience, we’ve put together the best Texas food handlers card practice tests. We’ve heard from many sources that these tests nearly replicate the questions that you’ll be receiving on the final exam!
Is Your Texas Food Handlers Card Expired or Lost?
If you lost your Texas food handlers certification, simply contact your course provider and ask for a copy. Additionally, you can simply log back into your course provider account using the same username and password as before, and access their printing options. Always remember to print duplicate copies of your food handlers card.
In Texas, your food handlers card is valid up to the expiration date listed on the final certificate given (usually 3 years). To renew your Texas food handlers card, you must sign up for another state-approved food safety course and pass their test all over again! This ensures that everyone in the state of Texas 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. 🙂
Minimum Age Required to Handle Food in the State of Texas:
- We believe most Illinois food handler certificate programs require a participant to be at least 13 years of age in order to take their course but that is not a rule the food code addresses.
State of Texas Food Handler Qualifications:
- There are no restrictions for individuals to receive food handler cards in the state of Texas.
- Employees who work directly with food that have specific medical symptoms or food illnesses need to be extra cautious. In this case, it would be best for you to consult with your medical provider.
Other Requirements That May Be Helpful:
- Driver’s License and/or Passport
- Good Communication Skills
- Being able to stand long periods of time
- Knowledge of basic food safety
For more information, please contact your Local City Clerk’s office… Or visit our Food Handlers homepage.