California Code, Health and Safety Code - HSC § 113948

(a)(1) Subject to the exceptions described in subdivision (d), a food handler who is hired prior to June 1, 2011, shall obtain a food handler card on or before July 1, 2011.  Subject to the exceptions described in subdivision (d), a food handler who is hired on or after June 1, 2011, shall obtain a food handler card within 30 days after the date of hire.  Each food handler shall maintain a valid food handler card for the duration of his or her employment as a food handler.

(2) Food handler cards shall be valid for three years from the date of issuance, regardless of whether the food handler changes employers during that period.

(3) A food handler card shall be recognized throughout the state, except in jurisdictions described in subdivision (e).

(b)(1) Prior to January 1, 2012, a food handler may obtain a food handler card from either one of the following:

(A) An American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited training provider that meets ASTM International E2659-09 Standard Practice for Certificate Programs.

(B) A food protection manager certification organization described in Section 113947.3 .

(2) Commencing January 1, 2012, a food handler shall obtain a food handler card only from an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited training provider that meets ASTM International E2659-09 Standard Practice for Certificate Programs.

(3) A food handler card shall be issued only upon successful completion of a food handler training course and examination that meets at least all of the following requirements:

(A) The course provides basic, introductory instruction on the elements of knowledge described in subdivisions (a) , (b) , (c) , (d) , (e) , and (g) of Section 113947.2 .

(B) The course and examination is designed to be completed within approximately two and one-half hours.

(C) The examination consists of at least 40 questions regarding the required subject matter.

(D) A minimum score of 70 percent on the examination is required to successfully complete the examination.

(c) The food handler training course and examination may be offered through a trainer-led class and examination, through the use of a computer program or the Internet, or through a combination of trainer-led class and the use of a computer program or the Internet.  The use of the computer program or Internet shall have sufficient security channels and procedures to guard against fraudulent activity.  However, this subdivision shall not be construed to require the presence or participation of a proctor during a food handler training course examination that is provided through a computer program or the Internet.

(d) This section shall not apply to a food handler who is employed by any of the following:

(1) Certified farmer's markets.

(2) Commissaries.

(3) Grocery stores, except for separately owned food facilities to which this section otherwise applies that are located in the grocery store.  For purposes of this paragraph, “grocery store” means a store primarily engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fresh meats, fish, and poultry and any area that is not separately owned within the store where food is prepared and served, including a bakery, deli, and meat and seafood counter.  “Grocery store” includes convenience stores.

(4) Licensed health care facilities.

(5) Mobile support units.

(6) Public and private school cafeterias.

(7) Restricted food service facilities.

(8) Retail stores in which a majority of sales are from a pharmacy, as defined in Section 4037 of the Business and Professions Code , and venues with snack bar service in which the majority of sales are from admission tickets, but excluding any area in which restaurant-style sit-down service is provided.

(9) A food facility that provides in-house food safety training to all employees involved in the preparation, storage, or service of food if all of the following conditions are met:

(A) The food facility uses a training course that has been approved for use by the food facility in another state that has adopted the requirements described in Subpart 2-103.11 of the 2001 edition of the model Food Code, not including the April 2004 update, published by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

(B) Upon request, the food facility provides evidence satisfactory to the local enforcement officer demonstrating that the food facility training program has been approved for use in another state pursuant to subparagraph (A).

(C) The training is provided during normal work hours, and at no cost to the employee.

(10) A food facility that is subject to a collective bargaining agreement with its food handlers.

(11) Any city, county, city and county, state, or regional facility used for the confinement of adults or minors, including, but not limited to, a county jail, juvenile hall, camp, ranch, or residential facility.

(12) An elderly nutrition program, administered by the California Department of Aging, pursuant to the Older Americans Act of 1965 ( 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3001 et seq. ), as amended.

(e) The requirements of this section shall not apply to a food handler subject to an existing local food handler program that took effect prior to January 1, 2009.

(f) Each food facility that employs a food handler subject to the requirements of this section shall maintain records documenting that each food handler employed by the food facility possesses a valid food handler card, and shall provide those records to the local enforcement officer upon request.

(g) At least one food handler training course and examination shall cost no more than fifteen dollars ($15), including a food handler card.  If a food handler training course and examination is not available at that cost, the requirement to obtain a food handler card imposed by this section shall not apply.


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