What is food manager certification? Is it required for a food business in your state?

What is food manager certification? Is it required for a food business in your state?

Amy Beardsley
By Amy Beardsley
Jul 16, 2023
17 min read
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Ensuring food safety and quality is one of the key ingredients in the food and beverage business. That's why food manager certification can be a huge asset for your restaurant, cafe, coffee shop, bakery, catering company or other food business. While not every state requires food safety certification, most want businesses to have a certified food protection manager (CFPM) on staff. 

Grab a cup of coffee (or maybe a fork!) to learn what food manager safety certification is, why it's important, and the many benefits of having a certified professional on your team.

Jump ahead to learn:

What is food manager certification?

A food manager certification is essential for anyone who works with food and drinks. Also known as a food protection manager or a person in charge (PIC), it serves as proof that a staff member has the training to understand and follow food safety regulations and guidelines. 

There’s a difference between  food manager certification and a food handler license. Although some states may consider food manager certification optional, they may still require a food handler license. Ensure your staff members have these certifications to show customers that you take their safety seriously and that you’re committed to safe, high-quality food.

Who needs the food manager certification?

If your state mandates it, almost every food business will need someone with a food service manager certification on-site at all times during operation. If you're a sole proprietor it's up to you to earn the certification and adhere to health regulations. 

Some exceptions to this requirement exist. You may be exempt if:

You operate a convenience store.

You exclusively prepare, service, or sell commercially processed or pre-packaged time/temperature-exempt foods.

How to get food manager certification

To get a food safety manager certification, you must pass a training program and exam that tests in-depth knowledge of food safety topics such as:

  • Foodborne illness and prevention.
  • Personal hygiene procedures.
  • Food preparation and cross-contamination guidelines.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing equipment and utensils knowledge.
  • An understanding of food safety problems and food allergy prevention.

Your local jurisdiction might also have its own food safety exam requirements. Many areas accept certificates from training programs like ServSafe, the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM)AAA Food Handler, and the American National Standards Institute – Conference for Food Protection (ANSI-CFP).

Food manager certification costs

The fee for a food service manager certification varies depending on the training provider and location. Online training and in-person courses can cost between $75 and $150. 

As a restaurant owner, you don’t have to cover the course or exam cost. However, the investment is well worth it. A certified food manager can help prevent foodborne illnesses, avoid costly fines and provide customers with safe dining experiences.

Food safety manager requirements by state

Ensuring food safety is essential for any restaurant owner. That's why it's important to know your state's food safety requirements. Regulations can change, so it's always a good idea to check with your local health department or state agency for the most up-to-date requirements.

State

Statewide mandate (Source: ServSafe)

Jurisdiction

Alabama

Yes

Alabama Department of Public Health

Alaska

Yes

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Arizona

No

Arizona Department of Health Services

Arkansas

Yes

Arkansas Department of Health

California

Yes

California Department of Public Health

Colorado

Yes

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Connecticut

Yes

Connecticut Department of Public Health

Delaware

Yes

Delaware Health and Social Services

Florida

Yes

Florida Department of Health

Georgia

Yes

Georgia Department of Agriculture

Hawaii

Yes

Hawaii Department of Health

Idaho

Yes

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Illinois

Yes

Illinois Department of Public Health

Indiana

Yes

Indiana Department of Health

Iowa

Yes

Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals

Kansas

Yes

Kansas Department of Agriculture

Kentucky

Yes

Kentucky Department for Public Health

Louisiana

Yes

Louisiana Department of Health

Maine

Yes

Maine Division of Environmental and Community Health

Maryland

No

Maryland Department of Health

Massachusetts

Yes

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Michigan

Yes

Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

Minnesota

Yes

Minnesota Department of Health

Mississippi

Yes

Mississippi State Department of Health

Missouri

No

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

Montana

Yes

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Nebraska

No

Nebraska Department of Agriculture

Nevada

No

Nevada Department of Health and Human Services

New Hampshire

Yes

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

New Jersey

Yes

New Jersey Department of Health

New Mexico

Yes

New Mexico Environment Department

New York

Yes

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets

North Carolina

Yes

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

North Dakota

No

North Dakota Department of Health & Human Services

Ohio

Yes

Ohio Department of Health

Oklahoma

No

Oklahoma State Department of Health

Oregon

Yes

Oregon Health Authority

Pennsylvania

Yes

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Rhode Island

Yes

Rhode Island Department of Health

South Carolina

No

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

South Dakota

Yes

South Dakota Department of Health

Tennessee

Yes

Tennessee Department of Health

Texas

Yes

Texas Department of State Health Services

Utah

Yes

Utah Department of Health & Human Services

Vermont

Yes

Vermont Department of Health

Virginia

Yes

Virginia Department of Health

Washington

Yes

Washington State Department of Health

Washington, D.C.

Yes

D.C. Department of Health

West Virginia

Yes

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

Wisconsin

Yes

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Wyoming

No

Wyoming Department of Health

How long does food manager certification last?

While certifications are generally good for three to five years, rules and regulations can change. Check with your local health department or food safety authorities for the most accurate and current information.

The validity of food protection manager certification varies from state to state. For example, a food manager certificate in California and Texas is valid for five years, while one from Baltimore, Maryland expires after three years.

How NEXT helps protect your food service business

NEXT has served over 10,000 food businesses with tailored, accessible and always-on restaurant insurancecatering insurancecoverage for bakeries, and insurance protection for cafes and coffee shops.

Get just the right amount of food and beverage business insurance, such as general liabilityworkers’ compensation and commercial property insurance. Customize and combine policies based on your business' unique risks.

Get a free quote and buy coverage in under 10 minutes. Access your policy, file a claim, and get an instant certificate of insurance 24/7.

Start a free quote with NEXT.

What is food manager certification? Is it required for a food business in your state?

END

amy beardsley
About the author

Amy Beardsley, insurance expert and contributing writer at NEXT Insurance, is a content marketing writer who specializes in small business coverage. Leveraging her background in the legal field, Amy brings a deep understanding of laws, regulations, and compliance requirements to her work. As a content marketing writer since 2016, she has contributed to publications like Legal & General, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, Insurify, and NerdWallet. Her work has also appeared in CNBC, Kiplinger, and US News. When she’s not writing, Amy enjoys playing cards with her family and experimenting with new recipes.

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