Utah food handler permit and insurance requirements

Utah food handler permit and insurance requirements

Alex Dryjowicz
By Alex Dryjowicz
Jan 19, 2023
9 min read

Are you a Utah restaurant owner or entrepreneur looking to open a restaurant in the state? Your employees may need a license or certification to handle food. 

The Utah Department of Public Health and Human Services requires almost all employees that handle food to have a food handler permit. Utah restaurant workers must complete a course offered by an approved food handler training provider and pass an exam within 14 days of employment to receive a certificate from their local health department.1

This guide covers everything you need to know about Utah food handler training and certification, including these topics:

Who needs a food handler license in Utah?

In Utah, every employee who works with or around food needs a food handler certification. Utah food handlers must complete an approved food handling course, pass the test and obtain a food handler certificate within 14 days of employment.

The Utah food handler certificate is valid for 30 days and proves that the applicant completed training and testing with an approved provider. Utah food handlers must apply to convert their food handler certificate to a permit within 30 days of employment.1 A local health officer then issues an official food handler permit card.

All employees at food service businesses must have a food handler license. Utah considers food handlers to include servers, bussers, chefs, kitchen staff, bartenders and other employees at food service establishments.

Utah food handling permit requirements do not apply to certified food safety managers in the state. These employees complete a separate certification process, monitor food handlers’ compliance with health department safety rules and ensure food safety within their establishment.

Each food establishment in Utah must have at least one full-time certified food manager working at each business location. However, they do not need to be present during all hours of operation. If your food service business doesn’t have employees, you will need to get this certification.2

A few types of food service establishments are also exempt from the state’s food handler permit requirements, including:2

  • Temporary event food services approved by a local health department
  • Vendors that only serve commercially pre-packaged foods or beverages
  • Health care facilities
  • Bed and breakfasts that serve only continental breakfast
  • Child care providers 
  • Backcountry food service establishments
  • Special events such as food booths at school sporting events and church functions sponsored by municipal or nonprofit organizations 

Along with ensuring compliance with state law, you can help protect your business by making sure your workers have a food handler license. Utah restaurants can benefit from a reduced risk of foodborne illness since employees are trained in proper food preparation and handling techniques.

How to get a Utah food handler card

There are a few steps food service workers need to complete to become certified food handlers. First, workers must complete a food handling course offered by an approved food handler training provider and pass the exam with a minimum score of 75%.

After completing the food handling course, they will receive a food handler certificate valid for 30 days. Once the food handler has earned this certificate, they will need to apply for a food handler permit with your local health department. Finally, a local health officer will issue the official Utah food handler permit.

Approved food handler courses cover several topics related to safe food handling, such as:

  • Foodborne illness prevention
  • Cleaning and sanitation
  • Personal hygiene and handwashing
  • Food allergen management
  • Contamination and cross-contamination
  • Time and temperature requirements 

Utah food handler certification verification

After passing an approved food handler course and applying for a Utah food handler permit with your local health department, your employee will receive a physical card proving their status as a certified food handler. Utah food handler permits are valid throughout the state and include the following information:

  • Name of the food handler
  • Permit expiration date
  • Identification number 
  • Name of the issuing local health department
  • The Utah state seal

It is your responsibility as an employer to keep a copy of each of your employee’s food handler permits on file and provide them upon request of a local health officer.

Utah food handler license fees

Food service workers can complete food handler courses either in person or online through any approved food handler training provider in Utah. Most courses cost less than $20, and workers must pay a $15 fee to their local health department for their official food handler permit.1

Some employers choose to cover the course cost or the certification fee, but this is optional since the food handler permit is still valid if the employee works for another food establishment in Utah.

How long does it take to get a food handler permit in Utah?

An approved Utah food handler course must include at least 75 minutes of training and a 50-question exam. The training session and exam should take approximately two hours to complete.

After passing the exam, food handlers receive a temporary food handler certificate valid for 30 days. They must apply for an official food handler permit with their local health department within 30 days of completing the course to receive their card.1

Utah food handler certificate renewal requirements

Utah food handler permit cards are valid for three years from the date of issuance. Workers can renew food handler permits every three years by taking an approved training course, passing the exam and receiving a new food handler permit from a local health officer. Food handler permits must also be renewed no later than seven days after expiration.1

Utah food handler license reciprocity 

Food handler permits issued by any Utah county health department are valid statewide. In most cases, food handler cards issued in other states do not have reciprocity in Utah.

The only exception to this no-reciprocity rule is for food handler permits issued to backcountry outfitters by the United States Department of the Interior, or public health authority in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada or Wyoming. This exception applies only to food handling at backcountry food establishments.1

Insurance requirements for Utah restaurants

With the right Utah business insurance, you can help protect your business from various everyday risks. Many restaurants and food service businesses in Utah consider these types of insurance coverage:

General Liability insurance

General liability insurance can help protect your business financially if you are held responsible for certain common accidents that cause a third-party injury or property damage. 

Food service general liability insurance can also include foodborne illness coverage, which may help cover costs if a customer gets sick from contaminated food or food that was prepared incorrectly.

Workers’ Compensation insurance

Utah workers’ compensation insurance can help cover costs related to workplace injuries, such as lost wages or medical bills. Most employers in the state are required to provide workers’ comp coverage.

Commercial Property insurance.

Commercial property insurance can help protect critical physical assets for operating your business. If your business property, such as equipment, inventory, furniture or buildings, is damaged by a covered event, this type of insurance can help pay for repairs or replacements. 

Commercial Auto insurance

Commercial auto insurance can help provide important coverage for property damage, medical bills and other related expenses if you or an employee is involved in an accident while driving a company vehicle.

Utah law requires that all vehicles have minimum auto insurance coverage of $25,000 per person, $65,000 per accident and $15,000 for property damage.3

How NEXT Insurance supports Utah food handlers

NEXT provides tailored Utah 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.


1 R392-103 Food Handler Training and Certificate 

2 Food Safety Manager Certification Act. Title 26, 15a

Utah Auto Insurance Requirements

Utah food handler permit and insurance requirements


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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