The Ultimate Guide For Food Handlers

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Everything you need to know to get your food handlers certificate and land your dream job.

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If you work in the food service industry, you may already be familiar with the term “Food Handlers Card”

How to get a Food Handlers Card

A food handlers card, also referred to as a certificate, license , or permit, is the documentation you get after passing a food handlers course. This card shows your manager and the local health department, that you know what it means to serve food safely to the public.

Most food handler cards are valid for 2 to 3 years, depending on the state you live in.

Follow these steps to earn your Food Handlers Card

  1. Create an account with us
  2. Register and Pay the Fee
  3. Take the Food Handlers Training Course — 30 - 75 Minutes (required)
  4. Take the short (35 - 40 question test) (Free re-take available)
  5. Print, download, or mail order your Food Handlers Card

Is a Food Handlers Card required?

Many states require anyone serving food to the public to have a valid food handlers card. Check out our post to see which states requires a Food handlers card.

Check State Requirements

Do I Need An Official Food Handlers Card? 6 Helpful Questions & Answers

This is a pretty common question with few answers on the web, so we are here to help. To begin, let’s clarify what a Food Handlers card is: A Food Handlers card (also known as a Food Handlers Permit, Licence, Certificate, or Certification) is the result of a food safety training program that teaches you the basics of food safety, tests your knowledge, and gives you a certificate of completion upon passing.

There are many jobs that require a Food Handlers Card but there tends to be little direction on what, why, and how you should go about obtaining one. We know that it can feel time-consuming and expensive, but we want to help you understand the value of the investment beyond the reason you need it. Here is what we will cover:

Food Safety

How important is food safety training for your restaurant?

The United States has the safest food supply in the world because we are aware of food safety.

However, 48 million people still get sick each year from eating food. That means 1.5 people get sick from foodborne illnesses every minute in the US.

Safe Food Handling Top 10

  1. When you are sick, don’t work with food: 
    Wait 24 hours from the last symptom before returning to work
  2. When in doubt, wash your hands: 
    Scrub hands with soap for a minimum 10-15 seconds
  3. Don’t touch ready to eat foods with your bare hands: 
    Use tongs or scoops, or wear gloves
  4. Always hold foods at a safe holding temperature: 
    Keep Hot Food at 135°F or higher and Cold food at 41°F or lower
  5. Cook foods to proper temperatures before serving: 
    Chicken 165°F, Ground Meat 155 °F, and roasts and Fish 145 °F
  6. Cool hot food as quickly as possible to 41 Degrees F: 
    Cool food from 135°F to 70°F in two hours or less and from 70°F to 41°F in 4 hours or less
  7. Keep raw meat away from other foods: 
    Prepare raw meat with separate equipment and utensils then those used to prepare ready-to-eat foods.
  8. Wash – Rinse – Sanitize – Air Dry: 
    Wash dishes using these 4 steps in order
  9. Keep food prep area and utensils clean and sanitized: 
    Cutting boards, counters, utensils, or any items that have been touched by raw food.
  10. Always ask your person in charge of any questions you have on food safety.
Learn More About Food Safety Training

Foodborne Illnesses: 5 Tips on how they happen & how to prevent them

According to the FDA, there are 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, 1,000 reported outbreaks, & 3,000 deaths per year from foodborne illnesses.

Living in 2019 means that we are learning more and more every day and technological advances like pasteurization have almost eliminated certain foodborne illnesses. However, there are still a few moving pieces that make some of the statistics difficult to track. Some of these are because foodborne illness can also be passed from water and person to person thus leaving a rather large gray area around their initial origin.

View 5 tips to prevent Foodborne Illness

Hands-on Handwashing

Handwashing is a big concern in the foodservice industry, but the problem exists elsewhere, and it starts early.

To properly wash your hands, you must:

  1. Get your hands wet with clean water
  2. Wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds (singing Happy Birthday in your head helps!)
  3. Rinse your hands with clean water
  4. Dry hands thoroughly with a clean towel

It seems simple enough, right?

Next time you use the restroom, prepare food, touch your face, etc., do us all a favor, and be that 1 person in 20 to wash your hands correctly. In fact, tell your friends and family so we can make that 5%, 100% so germs can’t spread. That way everyone stays healthy, safe, and happy, including you.

Learn more about Handwashing

Job & Training Tips

4 Quick Tips On Getting A Great Restaurant Job

Getting your first restaurant job is relatively easy if you have the right tools.

Restaurants are always looking to recruit fresh blood to the dark side, but there are a few things you’ll have to prepare to really persuade a hiring manager that you have enough of a backbone to handle the work.

Be sure you are prepared before your restaurant job interview. Knowing a few questions they might ask and preparing ahead of time is a plus. Having strong questions to ask them after they are done interviewing you is even better. How you present yourself is everything so pay attention to these tips and you’ll get a job quicker than you can figure out how to say Worcester.

View Tips On Getting a Restaurant Job Go to PoachedJobs to Apply for jobs today!

50 Interesting Food Industry Jobs

We often look at the Food and Beverage Industry and see it defined by the most common careers within it: Waiters or Waitresses, Hosts, Chefs, Bussers, etc. But what about other food industry jobs?

There are so many careers in the food industry that people either forget about or are unaware of. Have you ever thought about who plans the meals for the intercontinental flights you are on? Or who works on the recipes that make up Clif Bars? We have put together a list of the most interesting food & beverage jobs that we could find to show you how many other options there really are. And yes, all of these positions likely require a Food Handler, Food Manager, or Alcohol Server Card, so you are on your way there!

View 50 interesting food industry jobs

4 Ways Restaurant Industry Certificates Advance Your Career

The way of the world has changed, and expectations for entry-level roles in the restaurant industry are higher than ever before.

Employers want to see that you are committed and serious about the role that you are applying for. Even if you don’t have the 4 years of experience they wrote about in their job post, there are likely other ways that you can prove that you are a team player who is interested in advancing your career in the restaurant industry.

A few ways to do that are by making sure you are prepared for the interview. Arrive with an updated resume ready to answer your interview questions with gumption and authority. Remember, if there are other candidates in the running as well, you need to make sure you stand out above the rest. We have heard from many of our clients that candidates who have valid certificates prior to applying for a job are more likely to get the job than those without. Why is that? Here are 4 reasons why having a valid certificate makes you look more appealing to your future employer in the restaurant industry.

Why a certificate advance your career

Level Up Your Food Service Job

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to advance your career in the hospitality industry, you have some pretty cool options.

In 2019, the National Restaurant Association reported one of the top challenges in the restaurant industry was staffing, as restaurant business owners must constantly recruit and retain high-quality employees. That gives more opportunity to current employees, who already know the inner workings of the industry and who want to move up.

Whatever type of food service job you’re currently working, there are stimulating and challenging hospitality careers that may be the perfect next step to turn a job into a career. Here are five of the best food service jobs you can work toward from an entry-level position.

View 5 attainable & awesome food service jobs


Destress: 4 Easy Self-Care Tools To Cope With A Long Work Day

Taking some time to destress in positive ways after a stressful day at work can improve your mood, productivity, and health.

Although, it’s definitely not the first thing that comes to mind for most of us. Eating comfort food, venting, or being irritable is more likely. Sadly, we can all agree those are not healthy ways of coping with stress.

Working in the food and beverage industry can be cutthroat, to say the least. We have all seen Hell’s Kitchen. It gets heated! No pun intended… maybe a little. So self-care is a must.

No matter, we work in the industry alongside you, as an ally. Knowing that a stressful day or even just a busy day at the restaurant can be draining, we have created a list of ways to destress that everyone should try.

4 easy ways to destress

Free Downloadable Resources for Food Handlers

How to get your Alabama food handlers card


Interview Checklist


Practice Test with Answer Key




Food Allergies