California Food Handler Card

California Food Handler Card Guidelines : Training & Test

Where can food handlers receive a food handler card?

  1. COURSE: You must take a course (meeting the specifications for courses as outlined in the law).
  2. ASSESSMENT: (hereinafter referred to as "test"): You must take a test and pass with a score of 70 percent or higher. There are several providers who may offer the course. However, the test and food handler card must be issued from a certification organization that is accredited as meeting the requirements of the Conference for Food Protection's "Standards for Accreditation of Food Protection Manager Certification Programs." These organizations are:
    • National Registry of Food Safety Professionals:
    • National Restaurant Association (ServSafe® California Food Handler program):
    • Prometric:

How long will the course and test take?

The law states that the course and test must be designed to be completed within approximately two-and-a-half hours and that the test must have at least 40 questions.

What is covered by the course?

The law requires that the course provides basic, introductory instruction on the below listed six elements:

  1. Food borne illness, including terms associated with food-borne illness, micro-organisms, hepatitis A, and toxins that can contaminate food and the illness that can be associated with contamination, definition and recognition of potentially hazardous foods, chemical, biological, and physical contamination of food, and the illnesses that can be associated with food contamination, and major contributing factors for food-borne illness.
  2. The relationship between time and temperature with respect to food-borne illness, including the relationship between time and temperature and micro-organisms during the various food handling, preparation, and serving states, and the type, calibration, and use of thermometers in monitoring food temperatures.
  3. The relationship between personal hygiene and food safety, including the association of hand contact, personal habits and behaviors, and food employee health to food-borne illness, and the recognition of how policies, procedures, and management contribute to improved food safety practices.
  4. Methods of preventing food contamination in all stages of food handling, including terms associated with contamination and potential hazards prior to, during, and after delivery.
  5. Procedures for cleaning and sanitizing equipment and utensils.
  6. Problems and potential solutions associated with temperature control, preventing cross-contamination, housekeeping and maintenance.