Alabama food manager certification and insurance requirements

Alabama food manager certification and insurance requirements

Alex Dryjowicz
By Alex Dryjowicz
Jan 19, 2024
8 min read

Are you about to open a restaurant? Remember that your staff will need Alabama food manager certification before opening day.

According to state law, food service businesses in Alabama must have a certified food manager present during all hours of operation. To earn this certification, employees must complete an approved and accredited food safety program.

Ready to learn more? Jump ahead to read:

Who needs food manager certification in Alabama?

Nearly every business that serves food in Alabama needs at least one designated person in charge with a manager-level food safety certificate present during all hours of operation. The state does not specify which on-site person needs the certification, but managers, head chefs or owners usually earn this safe food handling certificate. 

If you do not have employees, you will need to complete an approved food protection course to become a certified food manager.

A few types of food businesses are exempt from Alabama’s food manager certification requirement.

  • Category 1 establishments where only prepackaged time/temperature control food items are offered
  • Category 2 establishments that do not handle raw animal products, do not reuse tableware and where no heated foods are cooled.
  • Temporary food establishments

How to get Alabama food manager certification

To earn a food manager certification, Alabama restaurant managers must pass a food safety exam approved by the Alabama State Board of Health (ADPH) and accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Although not required by the state, employees may enroll in training courses to help prepare for the exam. These courses cover essential food safety topics, such as: 

  • Safe food handling techniques
  • Personal hygiene
  • Time and temperature requirements
  • Cross-contamination
  • Cleaning and sanitizing

The ANSI website lists approved examination providers for Alabama food safety certification.

Depending on the food service employee’s prior knowledge and experience, an ANSI-accredited Alabama food manager certification course and the exam takes about four to eight hours to complete.

After passing the exam, food managers receive an official certificate electronically or by mail.

Certified food managers receive an official certificate after passing the exam. This certification must be made available to health and safety inspectors upon request. They can contact their exam provider for a replacement if the certificate is lost or damaged.

ANSI food manager certifications are valid for five years. Alabama food managers must retake the exam to renew their certification and receive a new certificate.

Food manager certificates issued by any ANSI-accredited program are recognized statewide. Employees outside the state of Alabama would receive reciprocity for their food manager certificate if they earned their certification through an ANSI program.

Insurance for Alabama restaurants and food service

With the right Alabama business insurance, you can help protect your restaurant, cafe, bakery, catering business or food service establishment from common risks you face daily. Many Alabama restaurant owners consider these insurance policies:

General liability insurance

Alabama general liability insurance can help protect your business financially if you’re held responsible for certain types of covered accidents, such as property damage or an injury to someone other than you or an employee. 

Food service general liability insurance for Alabama restaurants can also include foodborne illness coverage, which may help protect your business if a customer gets sick from food that is prepared incorrectly or contaminated.

Workers’ compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance in Alabama can help provide coverage for lost wages or medical expenses if an employee gets hurt on the job. Alabama businesses with five or more employees are required by law to carry workers’ comp insurance. 

Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance can help pay for repairs or replacements of physical business assets after a covered event, such as a fire or water damage from a burst pipe. This insurance may help cover inventory, equipment, furniture and buildings. 

Commercial auto insurance

Commercial auto insurance can help cover costs such as medical expenses and property damage if you or an employee gets into an accident while driving a work vehicle. 

All vehicles in Alabama are required by law to have minimum auto insurance coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage.

How much does Alabama food manager certification cost?

Restaurant workers can earn their food safety certificate online or in person through any ANSI-accredited program. Certified food manager courses, including the proctored exam, typically cost between $100 and $150. Employees usually pay around $30 to $60 to take the exam without a training course.

Restaurant owners are not required to pay for their employees’ food manager certifications. This certification is considered the employee’s property, meaning they can use it at another food establishment if they change jobs.

Food manager certification vs. food handlers card

All food service employees in Jefferson and Mobile counties — except certified food managers — must complete a food handler training program through their local health departments.

State law does not mandate food handler licenses, although local health departments may require them. Restaurant owners should check their county’s requirements to ensure compliance with local law. 

Jefferson County and Mobile County workers typically required to meet Alabama food handler license requirements include chefs, cooks, servers, hosts, bartenders, on-site event coordinators and other food service employees.

Certified food managers act as the person in charge of overseeing food handlers and ensuring safe food practices. Their duties include: 

  • Overseeing operations and ensuring food safety
  • Identifying food safety hazards in daily operations
  • Training, supervising and directing food handlers to protect consumer health
  • Developing and implementing procedures that reduce the risk of foodborne illness and allergic reactions
  • Conducting food safety reviews to ensure employees follow food safety policies

Certified food managers and food handlers can help protect your business. Your business can reduce its risk of causing a foodborne illness or allergic reaction with employees trained in correct food handling and preparation techniques.

How NEXT helps support Alabama restaurants and food service businesses

NEXT has tailored Alabama restaurant insurance policies designed for small businesses and self-employed business owners.

It only takes about 10 minutes to get a quote, review your coverage options, choose your policies and download a certificate of insurance

Our team of licensed insurance advisors is standing by to assist you if you have any questions along the way.

Start a free quote with NEXT.

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Alex Dryjowicz
About the author

Alex Dryjowicz is a copywriter, content creator and regular contributor to NEXT Insurance. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small business owners across all industries succeed.

She also enjoys intercultural communications and all things scuba diving.

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