If you’ve worked in a restaurant in the state of Virginia, chances are you’ve heard of something called the Virginia food handlers card.
For those new to the industry, the Virginia food handlers card is a certification given after successful completion of a food safety course. The card shows both employers and health inspectors that you have a basic understanding of food safety procedures… and therefore, are qualified to handle unpackaged food products inside the kitchen.
Pretty simple? Well, not exactly.
Although the Virginia food handlers card is a simple concept, the process of obtaining one isn’t… and it can actually be quite the headache.
If there is any information online about the Virginia food handlers card, it’s pretty tough to find. Go ahead and google search it. You’ll see that you’re left with deceiving online food safety courses, old government websites, and as always, a bunch of ads.
Because of this, we wanted to get our hands a little dirty… do the digging ourselves, so you don’t have to.
On this post you’ll find all the important, accurate, and updated (finally) information covering the Virginia food handlers card. This includes state requirements, helpful links, tips, and other resources.
Grab your aprons and let’s get to it people!
Virginia Food Handler Card Requirements
Virginia food safety mandates do NOT require typical food workers at a food establishment and/or restaurant to receive a food handlers card. Some states nationwide have this requirement, however Virginia’s food safety laws are definitely not nearly as strict.
The only food safety requirement the state of Virginia enforces for restaurant employees is specifically for restaurant managers and other supervisory positions.
What is a Virginia Food Managers Card?
Let’s break it down: If you are a supervisor in a restaurant or non-retail food service establishment in the state of Virginia, most likely you will be REQUIRED to take a state or county approved Food Managers course. Keep in mind this is totally different from the common food handlers card.
According to Virginia food safety state laws, at least one person with a Viginia Food Managers certification MUST be present, at the facility, at all times.
This means the only people Virginia 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… has an advanced knowledge of food handling procedures… and can generally guide other restaurant cooks and employees to follow the same safety procedures.
Virginia Food Handlers Card Requirements Summary
That was a lot. So let’s review:
- The common kitchen employee (server, line cooks, food prep, busers, dishwashers, etc.) does NOT need a Virginia food handlers card.
- Most supervisory positions (head chefs, kitchen/restaurant managers) in Virginia may HAVE to obtain a state or county approved Food Managers card.
- To receive a Food Managers card, you have to successfully pass a food managers course. (The most popular course is ServSafe)
- Someone with a Food Managers card must be present, at the food facility, at all times.
- Visit the Virginia food safety pages to learn more about food regulations and procedures.
Where to Receive a Virginia Food Managers Certification
To receive a Virginia food managers card (also known as the food managers course, Virginia food managers certification, or food protection card), here’s a list of suggestions from yours truly.
- 360training (877) 881-2235
- AboveTraining/StateFoodSafety.com (801) 494-1416
- National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (800) 446-0257
- National Restaurant Association (800) 765-2122
- Prometric (800) 624-2736
Although many online sources have a food managers course, it’s always smart to double check if the course is state-approved.
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 you can’t figure out which course to take from the list above, we always suggest to kitchen managers and supervisors to 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.
Virginia Food Handler Card Benefits
So what if you’re not a supervisor or manager… is it still worth getting a food handlers card?
Despite the lack of food safety laws for typical food workers or kitchen employees (line cook, food prep, servers, food runners) 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 Virginia food handlers card cost?
One great thing about food handlers cards is that they are VERY cheap. Often, you can get the card and complete a course for under $10. If you’re paying for a course that costs more than $10, we strongly urge you to reconsider you choice of training. There are plenty of cheap options online!
Unfortunately though, cards often only last for 2-3 years.
Here at Food Handlers Card Help we generally suggest that anyone who works in a kitchen should get 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.
For more information on food handlers in general, please visit our homepage.