Which states require a food handlers permit?

Four chefs preparing food at counter in a row in a professional kitchen. In states like Texas and Alabama, food handlers permits are required. 27 states currently do not require a food handlers permit. Of course California is the most difficult state to get state to get a food handlers permit, even though more food born illnesses happen there than any other state.

Whether its a part-time student job flipping burgers, or a struggling actor working as a waiter, restaurant jobs pay for the education and career training for tens of thousands of people every year. Not to mention the many more who work full time in the culinary arts.

Whether you are working in the food industry as a means to an end, or it’s your full time vocation, a requirement for employment for more than half of the country is obtaining a Food Handlers Permit or Food Handlers Card.

This typically entails passing a basic online test related to food safety and in most cases it costs less than $20 (sorry its much harder for you folks who live in California). While a number of third party services offer food safety and certification training, it is generally much cheaper and quicker, to go directly to the state or county and get your permit, although again, a couple of states out source to third party vendors.

States that require a food handler card or food handlers permit

Here’s the current list of states that issue a card or permit to work in a restaurant of other food service industry.

State Cost Valid Notes
Alabama $20 one yearIssued by individual counties
Alaska $10 three yearsMust be issued within 30 days of starting work
Arizona TBD TBDIssued by individual counties (3rd Party)
California Varies 3 yrs / 5 yrsIssued through accredited programs. Must have both CFH & CFPM (3 hrs/ 8 hrs)
District of Columbia
Illinois $15 three yearsMultiple outsourced ANSI approved programs
Nebraska $20 two yearsRequirements limited to Lincoln-Lancaster
New JerseyIndividual municipalities decide requirements
New Mexico
New York (State)
Utah $25 three yearsOutsourced to approved programs (see state link)
Washington $10 two yearsState approved online program
West Virginia