Are you about to open a restaurant in the great state of Alabama? Keep in mind that your staff will need the right food safety certifications before opening day.
According to state law, food service businesses in Alabama must have a certified food manager present during all hours of operation. Employees must complete an approved and accredited food safety program to earn this certification.1
Learn about Alabama food safety manager services and certification in this guide, which covers the following topics:
- Who needs a food manager license in Alabama?
- How to get Alabama food safety manager certification
- Alabama certificate verification
- Food manager certificate renewal requirements
- Alabama food manager certification reciprocity
- Insurance requirements for Alabama restaurants
Who needs a food manager license 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 it’s usually managers, head chefs or owners who 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.1
- 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
Food manager certification vs. food handler license
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.2,3
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 to get Alabama food safety 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). 1
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
- Cleaning and sanitizing
The ANSI website lists approved examination providers for Alabama food safety certification.
Alabama food protection manager certification fees
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. To take the exam without a training course, employees usually pay around $30 to $60.
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.
How long does it take to get a food manager license in Alabama?
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.
Alabama certificate verification
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.
Food manager certificate renewal requirements
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.
Alabama food manager certification reciprocity
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.1,2,3
Insurance requirements for Alabama restaurants
With the right Alabama business insurance, you can help protect your restaurant 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.4
How NEXT supports Alabama restaurant owners
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Our team of licensed insurance advisors is standing by to assist you if you have any questions along the way.
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1 Alabama State Board of Health Chapter 420-3-22