CALIFORNIA FOOD HANDLER CARD LAW GUIDELINES
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
April 13, 2011
Pursuant to SB 602 enacted into law in 2010, Health and Safety Code 113790 et seq., ("California Food Handler Card Law"), food handlers, as defined, will be required to obtain a food handler card after taking a food safety training course and passing an assessment. This document was compiled by a stakeholder working group comprised of members of the California Retail Food Safety Coalition (CRFSC), the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH), and the California Restaurant Association (CRA). These frequently asked questions are intended to provide guidance for food handlers, local enforcement agencies, industry, and training providers as this law is implemented.
The questions and answers noted in this document reflect the current language of the California Food Handler Card Law. The stakeholder working group has suggested clarification language through pending legislation (SB 303) and modifications to this document will be made if SB 303 is approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Brown. SB 303 makes technical changes to the Food Handler Card Law and will require training providers to be accredited through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This will allow for the approval of additional training providers. For additional information regarding SB 303, refer to Section D8 in this document.
To allow time for the clarifications to be adopted, the stakeholder group and CCDEH recommend that from July 1, 2011 until January 1, 2012 enforcement of the law will be limited to education and notification of requirements for compliance. All local enforcement agencies are urged to adopt this approach to the California Food Handler Card Law implementation and to notify regulated facilities accordingly.
All cards issued in compliance with the existing requirements of the California Food Handler Card Law or the recommended revised requirements, once adopted, shall be valid for 3 years from date of issuance.