Food Handler Card Compliance Deadline Coming Jan. 1

On Jan. 1, health inspectors across the state will begin to enforce one of the most widespread food safety laws to ever hit the restaurant industry. The California Food Handler Card law mandates food handlers who work in a restaurant and prepare, serve or store food must have a California Food Handler Card to work. County health inspectors will begin enforcement on Jan. 1.

Signed in September 2010, the landmark food safety law affects approximately 900,000 restaurant employees across the state.

“Restaurant operators are incredibly busy and have hundreds of laws to comply with just to keep their doors open,” California Restaurant Association (CRA) President + CEO Jot Condie said. “We’ve executed an aggressive educational campaign using a variety of communication channels, including earned, paid and social media, to ensure operators know about the law and how to comply, yet we know there are still folks out there who aren’t aware. Unfortunately they may learn about it the hard way through a health inspection penalty.”

The new law requires nearly 1 million food handlers in California to undergo food safety training and pass a test to earn a card. It also mandates that employers maintain records and are ready to provide copies of the cards to county officials during the inspection process.

With only 25 days left for existing employees to take the training and test, many restaurant workers are expected to be scrambling to secure their California Food Handler cards over the next few weeks.

The National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® California Food Handler program fulfills the requirements of the law, and includes a suite of options for employees to obtain a card through training and passing an exam, both online and in print for classroom-style training. Employees can take the training and test online in English and Spanish. Workers can use the discount code CADIST10 to take the online training for $13.50 at www.FoodHandlerUSA.com.

ServSafe’s bilingual help desk is available to answer questions in English and Spanish at 866.901.7778 or foodhandler@servsafe.com.

Operators and employees who are looking for more in-depth information about the law can visit calrest.org/foodhandler.

Last updated by FohBoh Dec 8, 2011.

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