Food Handler — Frequently Asked Questions


Organizational Mission

TAP Series is a leading provider of online food safety courses. Our mission to provide training and certificates through our unique teaching process which allows for a real-time uninterrupted learning experience by using colorful graphics, animations, full motion video, audio and interactive learning exercises. Major university studies show TAP Series courses are so simple to use that people with virtually no computer experience use them easily. Educators appreciate the TAP Series' exceptional self-paced and self-teaching courses. The quality of these courses qualifies them for course credit while reducing already over-taxed time and facilities at many universities. TAP Series is an online educational company. We have a 21 plus year history of providing exceptionally high quality courses and content. Our courses have been taken by Fortune 500 companies, universities, colleges, government, military, and individual students. Our vision is to provide exceptionable high quality learning that is affordable and flexible, while reaching the food handler audience.

Certificate Purpose

The certificate’s program purpose is for a food handler to successfully complete the food handler training course and examination to obtain a Food Handler Card. The food handler course is an Internet based course that teaches the six areas required by the Food Code.

Condition of Use

As a food worker, you have an important role in food safety. The law requires you to be trained in food safety and to pass a test that shows you understand how to keep food safe. A student can communicate that they completed the course with this certificate. The proper use and interpretation of the certificate is for a food worker to provide a copy of the certificate to your employer and you can interpret that you have met the law.


The questions and answers noted in this document reflect the current language of the Food Handler Card Law. The Food Handler Card Law will require training providers to be accredited through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This will allow for the approval of additional training providers.

Q: How do I obtain a card?
  1. COURSE: You must take a course (meeting the specifications for courses as outlined in the law).
  2. ASSESSMENT (hereinafter referred to as "test"): You must take a test of 40 questions and pass with a score of 70 percent or higher. There are several providers who may offer the course. However, the test and food handler card must be issued from a certification organization that is authorized by the jurisdiction.
Q: What type of training is offered for restaurants?

Food handler courses with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval can be found on the ANSI website at:
The course and assessment can be completed online, 24 hours/day and does not need to be monitored by an instructor. Upon passing the assessment, the certificate is immediately available to print. A local health department that has a Department approved training program may provide training for restaurants. In addition, any business with a training program approved in another state prior to August 27, 2013, may provide training if registered with the Department.

Q: Is my food handler card valid anywhere in the state?

A food handler card is valid in most of the state. Consult with the local enforcement agencies to obtain information on their local food handler programs and requirements.

Q: I have a food handler card issued from another state. Are food handler cards from other states compliant with the Food Handler Card Law?

No. Other state’s food handler cards are not valid in state.

Q: I am a restaurant manager and have a valid Manager’s Food Safety Certification pursuant to existing state law. Do I need a food handler card?

No. Anyone who holds a valid Manager’s Food Safety Certification doesn’t need a food handler card. However, if you’re a manager without the Manager’s Food Safety Certification and you are a food handler, you’ll need a food handler card.

Q: I’m interested in working in the restaurant business but don’t have a food handler card yet. Do I need to obtain one prior to employment in a restaurant?

You must obtain a food handler card within 30 days of hire.

Q: Is my employer responsible for paying for my food handler card course and test under the new law?

No. The Food Handler Card Law does not require employers to pay for the food handler’s training and test. The food handler card is the property of the restaurant employee, which allows the employee to change jobs without having to obtain a new food handler card.

Q: I just obtained a food handler card for my current restaurant employer. However, what if I get a new job in another restaurant, do I need to take the test again?

No. A food handler card is issued to the individual food handler and can be used wherever the food handler works, whether it is a new restaurant or multiple restaurants concurrently. The only exception would be counties with pre-existing local food handler programs. Consult with the local enforcement agencies in each county to obtain information on their local food handler programs and requirements.

Q: Do volunteers who serve food at soup kitchens, food banks or volunteer run restaurants have to have a food handler card?

No, volunteers are not required to obtain a food handler card. The law only applies to food handlers who are "hired" by subject food facilities. Food handlers who work in a food facility on a regular basis and benefit financially from the business are not considered volunteers (e.g., family members/owners).

Q: How quickly will I get my certificate of completion?

Once you finish your course and pass any required exams, you can print your certificate of completion right away.

Q: What can I do if I lose my certificate of completion?

If you lose your certificate of completion and need a new one, go to and click on Print Certificate

Q: Who wrote the content for your course?

The content for course was written by a PHD in Education with collaboration of a subject matter team from industry, academic, and regulatory. Over time, we have updated the content with the help of restaurant and food industry experts, as well as individuals involved in higher education.

Q: What are the system requirements for the course?

You can find more information about the system requirements for our course in our knowledge base.

Q: Can I test out of the course?

No, the law states the training is required every three years.


Q: What are an employer’s responsibilities under the Food Handler Card Law?

The law requires employers to maintain records satisfactory to the local enforcement officer documenting that each food handler employed by the food facility possesses a valid food handler card, and shall provide those records to the local enforcement officer upon request. Failure to maintain records that all food handlers meet the requirements of the Food Handler Law would constitute a violation of the state law, which may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. An example of acceptable records would be to maintain copies of the employees’ food handler cards at the food facility.

Q: What documentation is the employer required to keep?

Under this law, employers are responsible for maintaining records documenting that each food handler employed by them possesses a valid food handler card. These records must be provided to the local enforcement officer upon request. An example of proper documentation would be for the employer to maintain copies of the food handlers’ cards on file and have them available upon request by the health inspector.

Q: How do employers know which employees need a food handler card?

Most restaurant positions are subject to the Food Handler Card Law. Food handlers are defined as individuals involved in the preparation, storage or service of food in a food facility. However, certain statutory exemptions may exist including food handlers in: temporary food facilities, certified farmers’ markets, commissaries, grocery stores (including convenience stores), licensed health care facilities, mobile support units, public and private school cafeterias, restricted food service facilities, retail stores where a majority of sales are from a pharmacy, certain food facilities with approved in-house food safety training, food facilities subject to a collective bargaining agreement, food handlers. Food Handlers should consult with their local health agency.

Click here to read about Food Handler Training Results and Appeals.

Click here to read about our Food Handler privacy policy.

Click here to read about our Food Handler privacy policy (Spanish).

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