Last year California passed a law (SB 602) that several other states already have: the requirement of all restaurant employees to obtain a California Food Handler Card. The law is designed to ensure that restaurant employees receive a reasonable level of training in food safety practices to reduce the potential for food borne illness.
While not much has been publicized about the passing of this law, the deadline for employees to obtain these cards is coming upon us quickly. As of July 1, 2011 all California restaurant employees must obtain a Food Handler Card, with the exception of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties who already have pre-existing food handler card programs. The cards are valid throughout most of the state and are valid for three years.
When I was working in restaurants during college in Florida we had to obtain these cards as well. Since the implementation of their Food Handler Card law, Florida has seen a 79 percent reduction in food borne illness outbreaks. I think California is taking a step in the right direction with this law, but we need your help to get the word out. The law will be enforced by the Health Department and any employee who does not obtain a card by the July 1st deadline will not be eligible for work.
How Do I Obtain A CA Food Handler Card?
There are currently three companies who are qualified to issue food handler cards: ServSafe ® California Food Handler, National Registry and ProMetrics.
The test should be no more than $15 and can be obtained in an online test from these companies. After completion of the test, employees must provide documentation to their employer as well as keeping a copy of their card for themselves.
How Can I Spread the Word to my Employees?
Posters and fliers can be obtained from the California Restaurant Association’s web site. Please post them in your break rooms or where your employees are sure to see them.
Mention the CA Food Handler Cards in all employee meetings and to managers, shift leaders and trainers. Have your senior staff lead by example and help promote to other employees.
Larger restaurants that utilize online scheduling providers can create posts for their employees to see before accessing their schedules.
Please help us spread the word to all CA restaurants and employees. Thanks!
For more information: www.calrest.org/foodhandler