All hourly food handlers in Texas will need to obtain food safety training before September 1, 2016. The Texas Food Establishment Rule (TFER) 228 mandates that “all food employees, except for the certified food manager, shall successfully complete an accredited food handler training course, within 60 days of employment.” This rule will officially be enforced September 1 of this year.
Along with this rule change, there was a law change with Texas Senate Bill SB-582 that made it so all health departments in the state of Texas must recognize any ANSI-accredited food handler training.
What does this change mean?
Essentially, in counties and cities where food handler training was already required, a food handler certificate from any ANSI (American National Standards Institute) accredited food handler course is now accepted. In areas where there were previously no training requirements, all food service workers have until September 1, 2016 to complete their training. All training must be ANSI accredited or approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS).
When the commission responsible for the drafting of the rule was asked the purpose of making this training mandatory throughout the state, the commission responded by saying, “The purpose of these rules is to update public health regulations so that food businesses can continue to provide food that is safe, unadulterated, and honestly presented.”
In addition to changes to the food handler training requirements, the new rule is bringing the state of Texas up to date with nationally established food safety practices, using the most recent FDA food code as the basis of the new TFER.
What should you do now?
We understand that with these new regulations, businesses and local health departments now have an enormous responsibility added to their plate, but we are here to help. Luckily for you, we have all of the training resources you will need to prepare for September:
Food Handler Training (ANSI accredited and TDSHS approved)
Food Manager Certification Training and Exam (TDSHS approved)
TABC Alcohol Server Training
Group Training Option
Free Additional Training Resources
To learn more about each of these resources, we have mapped them out for you on this Texas Resources web page.
Need more information?
Read a full account of TFER 25 TAC 228 here (see 228.33 (d), (e) on page 28 for further explanation on the changes made to training requirements as discussed in this article). To learn more about the law regarding ANSI accreditation, see Texas Senate Bill SB-582, here. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact your local health department or StateFoodSafety.com’s support team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-494-1416.
Do you have questions? We have answers! With help from the Texas Department of State Health Services, we found out what it is you want to know most regarding food handler requirements. We’ve done the translating to Layman’s terms and we think you’ll want to see this. Here are a few things you should know about food handler training in Texas and how it applies to you.
There you have it—the top questions and answers regarding food handler training in Texas. Hopefully you have a better understanding of what is expected of you and what you can expect from an accredited training course. Purchase the StateFoodSafety.com State of Texas Food Handler Card Online Training by clicking “Begin Training”.
In accordance with our ANSI food handler training program accreditation (ASTM e2659-2015), StateFoodSafety.com wants to communicate the following information:
The State of Texas has long been a leader in demonstrating care and concern for the health of its dining public. While sparing its foodservice industry from unnecessary regulation, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) has created an infrastructure where local environmental health officials and industry operators can access food safety training in a variety of formats and at a broad range of price points. The marketplace for food safety trainers has generally been healthy, giving the public a variety of options for food safety training. But in recent years, there has been a noticeable decline in the quality of programs being promoted through the TDSHS website. This document aims to address this important issue.
The Texas Department of State Health Services Food Handler Program is dedicated to the health and safety of the citizens of the state, educating food service employees in the principles of food safety to produce safe food products for Texas consumers.
What is the purpose of food safety training?
According to Texas Administrative Code, “education of food handlers provides more qualified employees, thereby reducing the risk of foodborne illness outbreaks caused by improper food preparation and handling techniques.” Quality training should yield positive behavioral change, which results in safer food and a safer public. Many public and private organizations have implemented food safety training programs and seen improvement in their regulatory and third-party inspections. Additionally, studies have demonstrated that an emphasis on training can reduce workforce turnover, resulting in increasingly experienced and well-trained food workers over time.
What makes a QUALITY food safety training program?
While beauty is the eye of the beholder, quality in training is much less subjective. There are professional standards for instruction that should be met depending on the training format, student needs, and desired learning outcomes. Individuals involved in developing legislation, crafting rules and implementation guidelines, or approving materials for TDSHS may wish to consider the following:
Unfortunately, as currently written, the TDSHS food handler program approval guidelines do not define quality training, restricting the ability to thoughtfully evaluate the programs submitted. Simply put, if a program checks the application’s curriculum boxes, it must be approved, regardless of its efficacy in teaching food safety principles.
To illustrate this point, a comparison of two programs (which are both currently approved for use throughout Texas) has been provided below:
Both of these programs have met the curriculum requirements established by the TDSHS approval process, but one clearly does not engage in teaching the student and is little more than a “certificate mill,” allowing the student to click through a series of PDFs before issuing a certificate. Arguably, the prerogative to approve better programs for the Texas public is well within the stated objective of the TDSHS Food Handler Program, especially when the cost for a far superior learning experience is almost equivalent.
The Texas Department of State Health Services provides a framework for accrediting food safety education and training programs for food handlers.
A uniform standard governing the accreditation of food handler programs enhances the recognition of reciprocity among regulatory agencies.
How can the approval process ensure training program quality?
If statewide approval of food handler programs is intended to create a standard of reciprocity, then environmental health officials must be confident that all approved programs are reasonably expected to yield increased comprehension of food safety principles. Currently this is not the case. Fortunately there are two possible options that could ease the constraints currently faced by TDSHS officials:
Finally, the State may choose to do nothing, which would inevitably result in countless more fly-by-night programs entering the marketplace and taking food workers’ hard earned money in exchange for a certificate that signifies no increase in food safety knowledge.
 Rule §229.178
 Sunset Advisory Commission, DSHS Staff Report With Final Results, 2015, Issue 3, pg. 46
¿Tiene preguntas? ¡Tenemos las respuestas! Con la ayuda de los Servicios de Salud del Departamento de Estado de Tejas (Texas Department of State Health Services), averiguamos lo que más desea saber sobre los requisitos para los manipuladores de alimentos. Hemos traducido la terminología al idioma cotidiano y pensamos que le interesará verla. A continuación se presentan algunos aspectos que debería saber en cuanto al entrenamiento para manipuladores de alimentos en Tejas y de qué manera se aplica a usted.
Ahí las tiene, las principales preguntas y respuestas con respecto al entrenamiento para manipuladores de alimentos en Tejas. Esperamos que tenga una mejor comprensión de lo que se espera de usted y de lo que puede esperar de un curso acreditado de entrenamiento.
¿Necesita más información?
Lea más sobre los nuevos requisitos para los manipuladores de alimentos en Tejas aquí. Si usted está interesado en profundizar más sus conocimientos sobre la seguridad alimentaria, obtenga el curso de Entrenamiento para la tarjeta de manipulador de alimentos del estado de Tejas de StateFoodSafety.com.