Obtaining A Food Handler Card Or A Food Protection Manager Certificate
Food Handler Card

State law requires food handlers employed at food facilities to have a food handler card beginning July 1, 2011.  The intent of the food handler card is to ensure that working staff have basic knowledge of food safety practices.  This is a different requirement from the Food Protection Manager Certification described below.   

For more information visit the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH) web site for Food Handler Card Position Paper and California Food Handler Guidelines (FAQs).

If you wish to obtain a food handler card at this time, you must take a test and pass with a score of 70 percent or higher.  

Beginning January 1, 2012, only those organizations accredited by ANSI as complying with the ASTM 2659 methodolgy for training and testing may be used to obtain  valid food handler card. 

You may access the ANSI ASTM 2659 accredited website to obtain the most current list of accredited organizations.  Many of these organizations offer on-line training.  

Listing of Food Handler Card Providers who are accredited organizations as of January 01, 2012.


Certified Food Protection Manager Program FAQ
It has been proven that applied education in food protection significantly reduces major violations in food establishments and offers a greater level of protection to the public. To that end, the newly implemented California Retail Food Code requires food protection manager certification. The law states that all food operations at which unpackaged potentially hazardous (perishable) foods are prepared, handled or served must have at least one food safety certified owner or employee. This includes but it is not limited to restaurants, mobile food preparation units (vehicles), stationary mobile food preparation units and commissaries. As a food operator, you may have questions about the requirements to become a Certified Food Protection Manager. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions:
Does my operation require a Certified Food Protection Manager?
All food operations which prepare, handle or serve unpackaged potentially hazardous (perishable) foods are required to have a certified food safety certified owner or employee.

This includes:

  • Fast food and full service restaurants 
  • Food preparation trucks and trailers
  • Ice cream and yogurt shops
  • Retail stores that sell prepared foods such as hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches.

This does not include:

  • Liquor stores selling only prepackaged foods
  • Popcorn or churro carts
  • Mini-marts selling only prepackaged foods and have a microwave for customer use
  • A bar which serves only beer and wine
  • Wholesale/retail warehouse that sells only prepackaged food
  • Temporary food facilities that have an owner or person in charge who can demonstrate that he or she has adequate knowledge of food safety principles as they relate to the operation.


If you still do not know if you need a Certified Food Protection Manager, contact your district health inspector.
What is a Certified Food Protection Manager?
A certified Food Protection Manager is an owner, operator or any other person at least (18) years of age who has supervisory responsibility for the preparation of food or oversight of the operation and who has a valid Certified Food Protection Manager Certificate issued by one of the approved food safety certification examination providers.
What would happen if I do not become a CFH?
It is a violation of California Retail Food Code section 113947.1 if your facility lacks a Certified Food Protection Manager. Your permit to operate may be suspended and you will have to close your food service operation until you become a Certified Food Protection Manager or you hire one.
How do I become a Certified Food Protection Manager?
There are three ways to become a Certified Food Protection Manager in Solano County.

  1. Complete a Certified Food Protection Manager Training Course and successfully pass the approved certification examination offered by an accredited organization.
  2. Some providers may offer a challenge exam. However you must be very knowledgeable and experienced in food protection in order to pass this exam.
  3. If you are previously certified in food protection from one of the approved tests, your certification may still by valid. However if your certification is more than 5 years old, you will need to renew your certification.
How do I contact a County approved Provider to attend a Certified Food Protection Manager course examination?
You may contact one of the Certified Food Protection Manager Providers on the Provider List, or call the Department of Resource Management for a current list of all approved providers, or visit www.ansi.org for a current listing of accredited organizations.
What would happen if the Certified Food Protection Manager left my employ?
State law allows 60 days for you to then become certified or hire a Certified Food Protection Manager.
How long is an approved Certified Food Protection Manager training course?
Most approved courses are at least eight (8) hours and some are 16 hour courses. Several of the Community Colleges offer a 36 to 42 hour course with college credit.
When do I take the certification examination?
The approved course will offer the exam at the end of the training.
Where are Certified Food Protection Manager Training Courses held?
Certified Food Protection Manager classes are scheduled by the Food Protection Manager training Providers and are offered throughout Solano county and neighboring counties. Contact the Training Providers for the location of training near you.
Will Certified Food Protection Manager classes be held on weekends and evenings?
Many of the Certified Food Protection Manager Training Providers will offer classes during evenings and weekends. Some  Providers may even offer classes in the late evening or early morning hours if there is a demand for the training. Please call the  Training Providers for hours that training may be offered for you and your employees.
Will Certified Food Protection Manager classes and the certifying examination be offered in different languages?
Yes. Most of the approved Providers offer training and the certifying examination in a variety of languages. Should you have a need for a particular language please contact those Providers found on the Certified Food Manager Training & Test Provider page, which offer the training and certifying examination in your preferred language.
When do I need to be certified and for how long is the Food Protection Manager Certificate valid?
The CFH certificate is valid for five (5) years. You will have 60 days to obtain a Certified Food Protection Manager in your employ if your business is just opening.
Can one person serve as the Certified Food Protection Manager for more than one facility?
No, a Certified Food Protection Manager may only serve for one facility.
What are the responsibilities of the certified food protection manager?
The Certified Food Protection Manager is responsible for the safety of the food preparation and service, including ensuring that all employees who handle, or have responsibility for handling, unpackaged food of any kind, have sufficient knowledge to ensure the safe preparation or service of the food, or both.
Does a Certified Food Protection Manager need to be present at the facility at all times?
No, they need only be employed by the facility.
Do I need to post the food safety certificate or send it in to the Department of Resource Management, Environmental Health Services division?
No, but you must keep it on file at your food operation at all times and have it available for review by your inspector.