What are employer's responsibilities under the California Food Handler Card Law?
A: The law requires employers to maintain records satisfactory to the local enforcement officer documenting that each food handler employed by the food facility possesses a valid food handler card, and shall provide those records to the local enforcement officer upon request. Failure to maintain records that all food handlers meet the requirements of the Food Handler Law would constitute a violation of the California Retail Food Law, which may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. An example of acceptable records would be to maintain copies of the employees' food handler cards at the food facility.
How do employers know which employees need a food handler card?
Most restaurant positions are subject to the California Food Handler Card Law. Food handlers are defined as individuals involved in the preparation, storage or service of food in a food facility. However, certain statutory exemptions exist including food handlers in: temporary food facilities, certified farmers' markets, commissaries, grocery stores (including convenience stores), licensed health care facilities, mobile support units, public and private school cafeterias, restricted food service facilities, retail stores where a majority of sales are from a pharmacy, certain food facilities with approved in-house food safety training, food facilities subject to a collective bargaining agreement, food handlers subject to the local food handler programs in the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego and food handlers holding a valid Food Protection Manager Certification pursuant to current food safety law.
Does the California Food Handler Card Law require employers to pay for their employees training and test?
No. The California Food Handler Card Law does not require employers to pay for the food handler's training and test. The food handler card is the property of the employee. However, if an employer avails itself of the exemption provided in the law authorizing employers to use a food safety training program approved for use in another state (as specified), then the training must be provided during normal work hours, at no cost to the employee.
When do all of my current employees need to have a California food handler card?
Food handlers who are hired prior to June 1, 2011, must obtain a valid California food handler card on or before July 1, 2011. Food handlers hired on or after June 1, 2011, must obtain a valid food handler card within 30 days after the hire date.