TX Food Handler Mandate

All restaurant employees will need their food handler certificate by September 1, 2016

FAQs for Employers | FAQs for Employees

About Texas Food Handler Certification

Currently 85 local jurisdictions around the state of Texas require food handler certification. In October 2015, the Texas Department of State Health Services approved a regulation requiring statewide food handler certification as part of the new Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER).

The statewide food handler mandate is effective September 1, 2016 which means all current restaurant employees required to be certified must have their food handler permit by that date. All employees that work with un-packaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces such as kitchen staff, bussers, hostesses, servers, bartenders, bar-backs etc., will need to be food handler certified.

Employees in jurisdictions that currently require food handler certifications will be considered in compliance on that date as long as their permit is still valid. Individuals hired after September 1, 2016 have 60 days from date of hire to get their certificate.

Texas food handler certification is valid for two years, and food facility operators are required to maintain record of a current certification for each employee. Local health departments will enforce the mandate during the inspection process.

Food Handler Certification Course

As long as the food handler course is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and/or the Texas Department of State Health Services the certificate is valid anywhere in the state of Texas. Courses that are also accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), like ServSafe Food Handler Texas, are not subject to any additional fees required by local jurisdictions.

ServSafe® Food Handler Texas is a highly interactive online training course and 40-question test that covers critical food safety information and techniques. Approximately 60 to 90 minutes in length, the training delivers consistent food safety training for all foodservice employees.

The ServSafe Food Handler Texas training covers key topic areas:

  • basic food safety
  • personal hygiene
  • cross-contamination and allergens
  • time and temperature
  • cleaning and sanitation.

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