Food Handling: What Certificates Should Your Employees Carry?

Restaurant Food

Are you a restaurant owner or owner of another type of business that serves food and drinks to customers? Then, you know that food safety is of great importance. The local, state, and federal governments require that certain standards be met to keep customers safe, prevent the spread of illnesses, and keep your business establishment in pristine condition.

Despite good intentions, news of people getting sick after dining at your establishment can ruin business for the foreseeable future. That is why you must be serious about making sure your employees have the right training and certification before they begin working for you.

Government requirements

Your state likely has a food safety course that is mandatory for all workers who handle unpackaged food. For example, the State of Texas offers the Texas Food Handler course, which, after taking, will grant the attendee a certificate and a verification card indicating that they are trained to handle food in the most sanitary of fashions.

The government-required training is necessary for anyone working with unpackaged food, who will come into contact with food equipment or utensils, or working around any surfaces that come in contact with food. Any waiters, support staff, bartenders, chefs, cooks, and dishwashers need to have this training under their belt before starting work in these positions. There may be consequences if a state inspection finds that all employees do not have the proper certification.

How to take the course

A quick search online will reveal several options available for those intending to take a food handling certification course. Not all states require the same level of intensity of training. has a comprehensive list of what each state and local jurisdiction requires. Even if your local area does not require that your employees take such a course, it is a good idea to sponsor this training for them for your own peace of mind of customers’ safetymers.

If your state or jurisdiction does not have mandatory courses, it is a good idea to put your employees through a course accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Their site states, “ANSI accredits organizations that assure learning outcomes are met for food-handler training courses, evidenced by certificates.”

Food handler courses are available online for as low as $10, and are also available in instructor-led environments.

What is included in food handler courses?

When your employees finish learning the proper way to handle food, they will come away with vital knowledge, including:

  • How to keep the kitchen, dining area, food utensils, and equipment used to prepare food clean
  • How to keep their own hands and bodies clean to prevent contamination of food
  • How to describe what food contamination does to a person’s body
  • How to describe the potential chemical, biological, and physical hazards

Getting your workers and potential workers to understand and appreciate how their behavior directly affects customers’ food safety and satisfaction goes a long way to a prosperous dining establishment. Don’t delay getting your workers certified today.

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