What Is a Texas Food Handler Certification?
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Food Handler Program is “dedicated to the health and safety of the citizens of the state, educating food service employees in the principles of food safety to produce safe food products for Texas consumers.”
According to the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) §228.33, all “food employees” have to obtain a Texas Food Handler Certification within 60 days of employment.
Your certification is valid in the state of Texas and ensures that you are educated on how to avoid and prevent foodborne illness outbreaks caused by improper food preparation and handling techniques.
Who Needs to be Texas Food Handler Certified?
You are considered a “food employee” if you work at all with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils or food-contact surfaces. This goes for most front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) employees.
Anyone who could potentially come into contact with food needs to be certified. This includes hosts, hostesses, servers (waiters and waitresses), bartenders, bar backs, buspersons, chefs, sous chefs, line cooks and potentially dishwashers.
Even if you are taking a position at a restaurant (or any kind of establishment that serves food) where you are not necessarily required to handle food, you may want to get certified anyway. Particularly if you are taking a position where a promotion could put you in contact with food—for example, if you are starting as a dishwasher but would eventually like to be a server or bartender—it is in your best interest to get a food handlers license.
Who Is Exempt from Texas Food Handler Certification?
There are a few exemptions in place. If you fall into any of the categories below, you do not need a Texas Food Handler Certification.
- If you are a certified food manager
- This does not simply mean that you are a “manager” at your particular establishment. You need to have passed the official CFM exam.
- If you work at a food establishment that only serves pre-packaged items
- If you work at a Temporary Food Establishment
You also may be exempt from food handler training as long as you are supervised by a person who has had either food handler certification through an accredited course or is a certified food manager:
- If you have a documented Intellectual Disability
- If you are in a rehabilitation or correctional facility and you work with food or food related items as part of your rehabilitation
- If you are a nurse assistant or nurse who is an aide in activities of daily living (ADL)
- If you distribute pre-portioned food items in settings such as classrooms, daycare or similar facilities
If you are a volunteer who works with food or food-related items but are not employed by the food establishment
How to Get Your Texas Food Handler Certification Online
You can obtain your Texas Food Handler Certification online through our Texas Online Food Handler Program. Our 100% online course is approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services and can be completed in two hours. You can take it on any computer or tablet. All you need to do is register, go through the material and print your certificate once you’ve finished.
There are no quizzes, and there is no final exam. If you’re considering entering the food and beverage industry, you’re going to need a Texas Food Handler Certification. Our Texas Online Food Handler Program is the quickest, easiest and affordable way to jumpstart your food and beverage career.
How Long Does It Take?
Our two-hour course is 100% online and accessible from any computer or tablet, approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) and can be completed in one sitting. The course is two hours long as mandated by the TDSHS, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to complete it in two hours.
There is no requirement that you take the entire course at once, though. You are welcome to take it at your own pace. One of the benefits of the course being 100% online is that you determine how fast (or how leisurely) you want the process to go. We offer the course on our website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we will save your progress as you go through the material. You create a username and password once you sign up. You can use these to sign in whenever you are ready to work.