Are you a restaurateur looking to start a food service business in Nevada? Your employees may need food safety certification depending on where your restaurant is located in the state.
While there aren’t state-wide requirements for food handlers, many workers will still need a food handler card. Las Vegas and other cities within the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), for example, are required to obtain an official Food Handler Safety Training Card.1
In the past, restaurant workers in the state referred to the food handler certification as a health card. Nevada now calls the certification a Food Handler Safety Training Card.
Learn more about the Nevada health card and food handler certification in this guide, including the following topics:
- Who needs a food handler license in Nevada?
- How to get a Nevada food handler card
- Food handler certification verification
- Nevada food handler license fees
- How long does it take to get a food handler license?
- How do I renew my food handler card in Nevada?
- Food handler license reciprocity
- Insurance requirements for Nevada restaurants
Who needs a food handler license in Nevada?
Local health departments in Nevada determine whether employees in each county need to get a food handler card. Nevada doesn’t have a state-wide food handler requirement, but a food handler card is still needed in certain areas.
For example, the Southern Nevada Health District requires food handler certification for all food workers. This agency has jurisdiction over Clark County, accounting for 72% of Nevada’s total population.2
Any worker in Southern Nevada who handles, stores, transports, prepares, serves or sells food is considered a food handler. So is any worker who comes in contact with eating or cooking utensils used for handling, preparing, manufacturing, serving or selling food.
Food handlers in Clark County who need a food handler card include servers, kitchen staff, bartenders, bussers, hosts, on-site event coordinators and other employees at food service establishments.
Some individuals that work in food service businesses are not considered food handlers in Nevada. Neither the state nor the SNHD requires the following workers to have a food handler card:
- Employees who only handle food that is sealed and packaged for direct sale to the customer.
- Workers who occasionally and incidentally handle food but whose job description does not include food handling as a regular responsibility.
- Individuals with limited food handling responsibilities, such as cashiers, salespeople, stock clerks, warehouse workers, dockworkers, delivery personnel and maintenance staff.
Although only some counties requires all food handlers to earn a certification, there are state-wide regulations regarding food protection managers. A food protection manager acts as a supervisor for food safety and undergoes a separate certification process.
Every food establishment in Nevada must have an ANSI-accredited Certified Food Protection Manager on site to supervise food handling. If your restaurant or food service business doesn’t have employees, you must earn this certification to maintain your health permit.3
If you operate outside of Clark County, check with your local health department to find out whether any food handler requirements apply. Even when not required by law, employing certified food handlers can help protect your business. Since the certification process covers proper food handling and preparation techniques, employees are better able to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
How to get a Nevada food handler card
For food service workers outside of Clark County, earning a food handler certification is as easy as completing a short training course. Food handler courses are offered online and in person, and many issue participants an instant certificate of completion.
Food workers in Clark County need to earn an official food handler card through the SNHD. First-time food handler card applicants must schedule an appointment and take a food safety test in person at one of their locations.
The Southern Nevada Health District food handler license test consists of 20 multiple-choice questions. Participants must earn a passing score of 70% or higher to receive their card.
The SNHD offers free online course materials for food handlers to study before the exam. There are also online Nevada food handler card practice tests available.
Food handler courses in Nevada cover various food safety topics, such as:4
- Handwashing and personal hygiene
- Thermometer calibration and verification
- Food product receiving and storage
- Food holding temperature
- Avoiding cross-contamination
- Cleaning and sanitizing equipment
Food handler certification verification
After passing the certification exam, Clark County food handlers receive an official Food Handler Safety Training Card from the SNHD. As an employer, you are responsible for keeping a copy of your workers’ food handler cards on site.
If workers outside of the SNHD’s jurisdiction complete a food safety course, they may also receive a certificate through the training provider. However, keeping records of food handler certifications in Nevada outside of Clark County is not required.
Nevada food handler license fees
The Southern Nevada Health District food handler card costs $20. If a food worker fails the exam, there is a $5 retest fee. All necessary training materials are available on the SNHD website at no cost.1
Food handler courses are also available in Nevada for workers outside of Clark County. However, since the state of Nevada does not require food handler training, these courses vary in price and do not result in an official state license.
How long does it take to get a food handler license?
To earn an official SNHD food handler safety card, workers need to pass the 20-question multiple choice exam. There is no time limit, but most food workers complete the exam within 30 minutes.
Studying for the SNHD food handler exam or completing a food safety course in a county other than Clark can take up to two hours.
How do I renew my food handler card in Nevada?
In Clark County, first-time food handler cards are valid for three years from the date they were issued. Although the initial exam must be in person, food handlers can renew their SNHD food handler card online.
The SNHD renewal test consists of ten multiple-choice questions, and food handlers must pass the exam with a score of 70% or better. After paying the $20 renewal fee, a new three-year food handler card is issued.
Food handler license reciprocity
All food handlers in Clark County must pass the SNHD food handler exam to receive their official certification and work at food service establishments within the jurisdiction. The SNHD does not recognize any food handler licenses issued outside Clark County.
Insurance requirements for Nevada restaurants
Nevada business insurance can help protect your business from the daily risks you face. Many owners of Nevada restaurants and food service businesses consider a combination of these insurance options:
General Liability insurance
General liability insurance can help provide financial protection if you are held responsible for a covered accident that causes property damage or a third-party injury.
Food service general liability insurance could further protect your business with industry-specific coverage. For example, foodborne illness coverage can help if a customer gets sick from food that was contaminated or prepared incorrectly.
Workers’ Compensation insurance
Nevada workers’ compensation insurance can help provide important coverage for lost wages, medical bills and other related expenses if an employee gets injured at work. Most private employers in Nevada are required to have workers’ comp insurance.
Commercial Property insurance
Commercial property insurance can help cover costs for repairing or replacing physical business assets after a covered event, such as a fire or water damage from a burst pipe. Some examples of business property that this insurance may cover include inventory, equipment, furniture and commercial buildings.
Commercial Auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance can help protect your business financially if you or an employee is involved in an accident while driving a company vehicle. This type of insurance can help provide coverage for medical expenses, property damage and other related costs.
In Nevada, all vehicles must have minimum auto insurance coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $20,000 for property damage.5
How NEXT Insurance supports Nevada food handlers
NEXT provides tailored Nevada 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.
Do you need food handler certification in another U.S. state? Visit our summary of food handler license requirements in every state.