Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who must be certified?
2. Are there any food facilities that do not need a certified owner or employee?
3. Once I am certified, do I need any further training?
4. How can I stay up-to-date on food handling laws and disease prevention methods?
5. Do I have to get some sort of card from the health department after I pass the test?
6. Does the law apply to school districts and colleges?
7. My business has several permits from the health department for the deli, meat department, and café. Do I have to have a certified owner or employee for each permit?
8. Do I have to have a certified employee present when my business is open?
9. Do I have to have a certified employee before I open my business?
10. What happens if I don’t pass the exam after the class?


1. Who must be certified?

All restaurants, grocery stores, convenience markets, delicatessens, "hot trucks", refreshment stands, and commissaries that prepare or serve unpackaged food must have an owner or an employee who has passed either of the recognized tests that California Food Safety is certified to deliver.

2. Are there any food facilities that do not need a certified owner or employee?

Facilities that sell only prepackaged food or produce are not required to have a certified owner or employee. Call us if you have any questions about your certification requirements or check with your local enforcement agency for more information.

3. Once I am certified, do I need any further training?

Yes. By law, you need to be re-certified every three years. This is because the information on food handling and disease prevention is continually being updated. Thirty years ago there were only a few pathogens (an agent that causes disease in a living microorganism, such as bacteria.) Today, more than 200 are being discovered each year. So this is a very sensible law.

4. How can I stay up-to-date on food handling laws and disease prevention methods?

California law mandates that a Certified Professional Food Manager be re-certified every three years.

California Food Safety encourages food managers to retake the training class every year to make sure they stay up on the latest changes in food law, to reinforce food safety knowledge they already possess and to learn new information and procedures as they come out. We offer a 25% discount on our food safety classes to those who update their training every year. You can also sign up for our food safety e-alert which is sent out on a regular basis to keep you updated on significant changes in food regulation and safety practices.

5. Do I have to get some sort of card from the health department after I pass the test?

The law does not require you to register with the local or state health department. The testing companies of the certified test delivered by California Food Safety will send you a certificate when you pass the test. Health inspectors will accept this certificate as proof of compliance.

California Food Safety also issues certificates showing your qualifications. The certificates are suitable for framing and can be proudly displayed.

6. Does the law apply to school districts and colleges?

Yes, it does. They too need to be re-certified every three years.

7. My business has several permits from the health department for the deli, meat department, and café. Do I have to have a certified owner or employee for each permit?

No, as long as all the food facilities at the location are under the same ownership, only one certified food protection manager is required. If the separate operations are under different ownership each one must have its own certified person.

8. Do I have to have a certified employee present when my business is open?

No. California law mandates each separate facility only need have one Certified Professional Food Manager. However, since food safety is vital to the success of any food establishment, many companies have multiple employees certified. These wise companies have a Certified Professional Food Manager always present when the company’s doors are open.

9. Do I have to have a certified employee before I open my business?

The law provides that you have 60 days to ensure that you have a certified employee when you start a business, change ownership, or no longer have a certified employee.

10. What happens if I don’t pass the exam after the class?


If you do not pass the standardized test given at the end of one of our classes, you may attend as many classes as you wish in the future, until you do pass. There is a re-test fee, but absolutely no fee for redoing the class


We are proud affiliates
of Experior and Servsafe,
recognized providers of
food safety examinations
and certification by the
State of California.

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