Texas mandate of statewide food handler certification goes into effect September 1, 2016


Aug 30, 2016 | EcoSure Food Safety Monitor

By Miriam Eisenberg, MS, RD, CP-FS

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Texas Department of State Health Services updated its Food Code to primarily match the 2013 FDA Food Code. This also included a statewide food handler certification requirement in their new Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) which became effective October 11, 2015. This is not a national requirement from the FDA Food Code at this time but is becoming more common around the country.

The food handler mandate is effective September 1, 2016 which means all current restaurant employees required to be certified must have their food handler permit by this date. Employees that currently have food handler certifications will be considered in compliance on this date as long as their permit is still valid. Individuals hired after September 1, 2016 have 60 days from date of hire to become certified. Certificates should be available on-site.

Because this is a government regulation-required training, labor law requires employers to cover the cost of the training and pay current employees while they take the course. Employers can make food handler certification a condition of employment for any new employees. The Texas Department of State Health Services requires an ANSI-accredited course to meet the regulatory requirements. A summary of changes, a quick code reference and other materials can be found on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.