California Food Handler Card: Online Training & Certification

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California Food Handler Card: Online Training & Certification

Anjali Dalal | Feb, 2 2024

How To Get Your California Food Handler Card In 2024


So, you’ve decided to work in the food industry in California in 2024. You’ll need a California food handlers card. It is an essential requirement for anyone handling food in the state.


What Is A California Food Handler Card?

California food handlers card is a certification that verifies that you have completed a state-approved food safety training program. It’s a crucial document for anyone working in a food-related job in California, such as restaurants, food trucks, and cafeterias.

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How To Get Your California Food Handler Card?

Follow the below process:


1. Check The Requirements

Before you start the process, make sure you meet the requirements

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You need a valid government-issued photo ID.
  • You must complete a state-approved food handler training program.


2. Choose A Training Provider

Choose Coggno for your online training needs in California. Our training is self-paced and affordable and offers a certificate upon completion. 


3. Complete The Training

Enroll in the chosen training program and complete the course. Our training covers topics such as

  • Foodborne illnesses
  • Safe food handling practices
  • Cross-contamination prevention
  • Time and temperature control
  • Proper handwashing techniques

The course usually takes a few hours to complete. Be sure to take your time and absorb the important information.


4. Pass The Exam

After finishing the training, you will have to pass an exam.


5. Get Your California Food Handler Card

Once you’ve completed the training and passed the exam, you will receive your Food Handler Card.

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How Long Is The California Food Handler’s Card Valid?

Your food handlers card will be valid for three years from the date of issuance. After that, you’ll need to renew it by retaking the training and exam.

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Who Needs A Food Handler Card?

In California, virtually anyone who works with food is required to have a Food Handler Card. It includes: 

  • Restaurant employees
  • Food truck workers
  • Baristas
  • Deli staff
  • Catering personnel
  • Cafeteria workers
  • Mobile food vendors
  • Temporary event food vendors
  • Anyone involved in the preparation, storage, or service of food to the public


What Are The Exemptions For Food Handler Cards?

While most individuals working with food in California are required to obtain a Food Handler Card, this rule has some exemptions. Here are some common exemptions to be aware of:

  • Farmers and agricultural workers (if they do not handle or prepare food for direct sale to the public)
  • Certified food protection managers (if they are present at all times during food service operations)
  • Volunteers at nonprofit organizations involved in occasional food service activities (subject to specific conditions)
  • Vendors selling only prepackaged food that does not require further handling or preparation (conditions may apply)
  • Temporary food facilities or booths operating for less than 52 consecutive days at one location (check local regulations)

Please note that the specifics of who is exempt from needing a Food Handler Card can vary by location and local health department regulations. So, you must check with the relevant authorities for precise information in your area.


What Is The Employer’s Responsibility In Getting A Food Handler Card?

Here’s what employers are typically required to do:


1. Inform Employees

Employers must inform their employees about the legal requirement for a food handlers card. It includes new hires and existing employees who may not have one.


2. Verify Employee Compliance

Employers are responsible for verifying that their employees have valid food handler cards. It may involve keeping records of when employees obtained their cards and when they need to be renewed.


3. Provide Training Resources

Some employers offer training resources or access to accredited training programs to help their employees obtain food handler cards. It can include online courses, study materials, and practice exams.


4. Schedule Training

Employers should schedule training sessions or allow employees time to complete the training independently. In some cases, employees may be required to complete the training before starting their job.


5. Support Card Renewal

Employers should also assist employees in renewing their food handler cards when they expire, typically every three years. Employers can remind employees of the expiration date and provide resources for renewal.


6. Maintain Compliance Records

Employers must keep records of their employees’ food handler cards and ensure they are current. This documentation should be present during health inspections and audits.


7. Comply With Local Regulations

Employers should be aware of and comply with any local regulations that may apply in addition to the state requirements. Local health departments may have additional rules or standards that must be followed.


8. Encourage Safe Food Handling Practices

Beyond the legal requirements, employers should encourage and enforce safe food handling practices in the workplace. These include proper handwashing, hygiene, temperature control, and cross-contamination.


Why Is The California Food Handler Card Important?

Obtaining a Food Handler Card is essential for several reasons

  • It ensures that food service workers are trained in safe food handling practices.
  • It’s a legal requirement in California. Failing to have a valid card can result in fines and other penalties.
  • Employers in the food industry sometimes mandate their staff to have a food handlers card.


Get Started With Coggno

Get your California food handlers card today from Coggno. It is as easy as ordering a coffee. Follow the steps outlined in this guide, and you’ll be on your way to ensuring safe and delicious dining experiences for Californians. 

Good luck!


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Note: The ANSI Accreditation Requirement

To ensure your food handler card is valid and recognized, your class must be accredited through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI accreditation guarantees that the training program meets national standards for food safety education. So, when choosing your training provider, check if they have ANSI accreditation to ensure your certification is legitimate.


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