If you’re an Arizona entrepreneur interested in opening a restaurant in the state, it’s important to make sure any employees you hire have the proper certification.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Health recommends that all restaurant and food service employees have a food safety certification. Individual counties are permitted to set their own requirements, so this certification may be mandated depending on where your business is located.1
Get more information about Arizona food handler certification in this guide, which covers the following topics:
- Who needs a food handler certificate in Arizona?
- Arizona food handler training requirements
- County-specific food handler card requirements in Arizona
- Food handler card verification
- Arizona food handler certification fees
- How long does it take to get a food handler certificate?
- Arizona food handler card renewal requirements
- AZ food handler certificate reciprocity
- Insurance requirements for Arizona restaurants
Who needs a food handler certificate in Arizona?
In Arizona, food handler cards aren’t required by state law. However, individual counties can set their own requirements for restaurants and other food service businesses, and some require that all employees who work with food have a food handler certificate.
Arizona business owners must check with their county’s health department for specific food handler certification requirements.
Arizona food handler training requirements
Arizona counties requiring certified food handlers must use a food handler training course that meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.2 Training courses must cover the following topics:
- Proper timing and temperature for food preparation
- Personal hygiene
- Food contamination prevention
- Cleaning and sanitizing procedures
- Cross-contamination, temperature control, housekeeping and maintenance
Food handler courses are available online or through live classroom instruction. Certificates from food handler training programs accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are accepted in many counties where employees must have a food handler card. Arizona workers in some counties may have to complete a program administered by the local government.
County-specific food handler card requirements in Arizona
Some examples of counties with Arizona food handler card requirements include:
All employees who handle food at a Maricopa County business must have a food handler certificate from an ANSI-accredited training program. Maricopa County food service businesses must also have at least one certified food protection manager on staff.3
All food employees in Pinal County must become certified food service workers within 30 days of hire. Certificates are accepted from ANSI-accredited food handler training programs. In addition, there must be at least one certified food protection manager on staff.4
In Yavapai County, every employee who handles food or food equipment must have a food worker card issued by the county or an ANSI-accredited food handler training program. There must also be at least one certified food safety manager on staff at every food service business.5
Yuma County requires all food handlers to have a county-issued food handler card. Arizona workers in this county must pass a 25-question true-false test to complete their certification.6
Food handler card verification
Employees must receive an Arizona food handler card or certificate once they successfully complete their training. Typically, the employer is responsible for keeping a copy on-site for health inspections, but this may vary by county.
Arizona food handler certification fees
A food handler training course costs around $10 to $20. Employees are usually responsible for paying this fee, but it's important to check with your local health department to find out whether employers must cover the cost.
How long does it take to get a food handler certificate?
Many ANSI-accredited courses take around two hours to complete. The length of county-administered courses may vary.
Arizona food handler card renewal requirements
Food handler certificates from ANSI-accredited training programs are typically valid for three years.5 Employees must retake the course to renew their certificate.
The renewal requirements for each county may vary, however, so be sure to inquire with your local health department for more details.
AZ food handler certificate reciprocity
According to state law, county-issued food handler certificates must be accepted through the expiration date by any other Arizona county that requires food handler certification.2
Insurance requirements for Arizona restaurants
The right Arizona business insurance can help protect against different types of risks you face every day. Many businesses in the state consider a combination of these options:
General Liability insurance
General liability insurance can help protect your business if you are held responsible for accidents which cause an injury to someone other than yourself or an employee or property damage.
Food service general liability insurance can also include foodborne illness coverage, which may provide important protections if your customers become sick from eating contaminated food.
Workers’ Compensation insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance can help cover medical expenses and lost wages if an employee gets hurt on the job. All employers in Arizona are required to have workers’ comp coverage.
Commercial Property insurance
Commercial property insurance can offer important protections for physical business assets, including commercial buildings, equipment, inventory and furniture. This insurance can help cover the costs of repairs or replacements if a covered event damages your business property.
Commercial Auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance can help cover costs like medical expenses and property damage if you or an employee is involved in an accident while driving a work vehicle.
The state of Arizona requires all vehicles to have minimum auto coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $15,000 for property damage.3
How NEXT Insurance supports Arizona food handlers
NEXT provides tailored Arizona 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 an instant quote online today.
Do you need food handler certification in another U.S. state? Visit our summary of food handler license requirements in every state.