As of May 2019, about 7% of all working Utahns worked in the food industry. That percentage represents nearly 113,000 food workers throughout the state — including you!
Maybe you were just hired for your first job, or maybe you’ve worked in the industry for years and it’s time to renew your food handlers permit. Read on to learn more about the state requirements for food handler training and the different ways you can earn your permit.
Who is required to have a food handlers permit?
Utah state law requires every food worker to complete food handler training within 14 days of starting your job. If you need to renew your permit, you must take the training within 7 days of your permit’s expiration date.
This requirement applies to all food workers, even if you’re only working at a temporary establishment, like an event booth. The only exceptions are 1) you work at a back country food establishment and have a back country food handlers permit, or 2) you have a food manager certification.
How to get a Utah food handlers permit
There are two options for taking the food handler training and test:
- Take an in-person class. With this option, you’ll travel to a classroom and learn what you need to know face-to-face from an instructor. The options for class dates and times may be limited depending on the instructor’s schedule and the demand for in-person training.
- Complete an online course. This option tends to be a lot more flexible with your schedule, and doesn’t require you to travel. There are many different companies that offer online food handlers training, including StateFoodSafety.
No matter which option you choose, make sure the training provider has been approved by the state of Utah. Utah has some specific requirements about what it wants food handlers in the Beehive State to know, and it looks carefully at each provider before deciding whether to approve them.
You can see a list of Utah-approved training providers on the state website: https://health.utah.gov/epi/community/sanitation/foodSafety/foodHandler_list.pdf. The first part of the list shows approved in-person training options. For approved online courses, scroll down to the online training section.
StateFoodSafety offers an approved 75-minute course to help you get your Utah food handlers permit. The training and test are both online and automatically save your progress, so you can start and stop as needed. Our course is also designed to work on mobile, so you can access it on any device.
Customers give our food handlers course 4.6 of 5 stars, and more than 95% of people who take the training go on to pass the test.
After you pass the test, you’ll be able to print your temporary food handler certificate immediately from your StateFoodSafety account. Per Utah state law, your local health department will mail your official food handlers permit to you within 30 days of completing our course.
Some states, including Utah, charge a health department fee. Utah’s fee covers the cost of creating and mailing your official permit. If you take your training from StateFoodSafety, we’ll collect the fee and send it to the health department for you so that you can focus on earning your permit.
How to renew your permit
A Utah food handlers permit is valid for three years. If you’re still working in the food industry at the time your permit expires, you will need to renew it within 7 days of the expiration date.
If you took your training with StateFoodSafety and you chose to receive emails, we’ll send you a reminder to renew your permit before it expires.
When you go to renew your permit, you’ll notice that the renewal process is very similar to getting a permit for the first time. You’ll need to purchase a new Utah food handler course, take the training, and pass the test.
After you pass the test, you’ll be able to download a temporary food handlers certificate from your StateFoodSafety account. Your local health department will mail your new permit within 30 days. And you’ll be set for the next three years!
What to study for the food handler test
Depending on how much experience you have working in a commercial kitchen, the food handler test may pose some challenging questions.
Some food safety concepts are just common sense, like washing your hands after using the bathroom. Others require a bit more effort, like memorizing the FDA’s recommended cooking temperatures for various foods.
The most important thing you can do to prepare for the food handler test is pay attention during the training. The training is designed to teach you everything you need to know to not only pass the test and earn your permit, but also to help you learn good food safety practices for your job.
Take time to go through the training activities and quizzes. Review any sections you aren’t comfortable with yet. If it helps, take notes during the instruction videos.
If you’d like, you can also review some of our supplemental materials in preparation for the food handlers test:
- Cooking Times and Temperatures Poster
- Steps of Handwashing Poster
- Time/Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) Foods Poster
- Wearing Gloves for Food Safety Infographic
What happens to your permit if you change jobs?
A Utah food handlers permit is valid throughout the state of Utah and isn’t specific to any one establishment. That means even if you start working at one food establishment and switch to a different one, you don’t need to get another permit — as long as your current permit hasn’t expired.
In the same respect, if you start out working in one position and change to a new role, you can continue using the same food handlers permit you did before.
One possible exception is if you get promoted to a management position. Utah law requires each establishment to employ at least one person with a Food Protection Manager Certification. If you’re promoted to a manager position, ask your supervisor if you need to get this certification.
Food manager certification is similar to food handler training, but goes into more detail. It also teaches you what you need to know to manage food workers and help keep food safe.
If you change to a job outside of Utah, your Utah food handlers permit won’t be valid there. You may have to take a different training course and test to get a food handler card in your new area. Ask your supervisor if you’re not sure what the training requirements are in your new area.
To sum up, getting your Utah food handlers permit is simple! All you have to do is take an in-person class or online course from a state-approved training provider and pass the test.
After you pass the test, you should receive a temporary certificate from whatever provider you took the training with. Soon after that, you‘ll get your official permit in the mail.
Earn your food handlers permit today with StateFoodSafety!
— Jessica Pettit