Starting in June of 2011, California law SB 602 began to require that all restaurant food handlers take a food safety training course and pass a test. Once the test is passed, they would receive a California Food Handler Card. The questions that beg to be asked are: How many restaurant owners know about this law? How many restaurant “food handlers” have these cards? The answer is not very many.
In case if you didn’t know, here is an overview:
In California, people who prepare, serve, or store food for a restaurant are required to have a California Food Handler Card. Within 30 days of being hired, a food handler must take a certified food safety course and pass a test with a score of 70% or higher.
The law does not apply to food handlers in Riverside, San Bernardino, or San Diego counties, but the cards are required in the rest of the state of California. The counties mentioned above have more specific laws regarding this issue.
Once the employee receives the card, they are to make a copy of the card and give it to the employer. In turn, the employer is required to keep records of all employees and ensure their cards are up to date. This is required by law.
Health inspectors enforce the law and they will ask for the records during an inspection.
For the fill text of SB 602, click here.
The classes are inexpensive, the law says that there must be at least one course that costs no more than $15, and the law caps fees at $60 for testing and certificate to ensure affordability for food handlers. The law does not specify if the employer or employee is responsible for the cost of testing and food safety certification.
Apparently, there is another bill in the works, SB 303, that will clarify the message of the first bill.
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