servsafe certification

ServSafe Certification: Your Questions Answered

The importance of food safety can’t be overstated. According to the World Health Organization, more than 200 different diseases are spread through food. But unless you studied culinary arts, food safety is not covered in the public school curriculum. Fortunately, the ServSafe certification exists to spread knowledge and offer protection.

What is the ServSafe certification?

ServSafe is an educational program from the National Restaurant Association (NRA). It was designed to teach food handlers the best practices regarding food safety. If someone passes the course and exam, they receive a ServSafe certification.

ServSafe certification isn’t required for all food service workers. Formal food safety education requirements vary state-to-state. That said, individual employers can require this type of training to add an extra layer of protection for their businesses, even if their state doesn’t mandate completion of this particular training.

What Is Covered in ServSafe Certification Courses?

ServSafe has two Food Safety certificates: one for Food Handlers and one for Food Managers.

The ServSafe Food Handler certification is for employee-level positions. It covers:

  • Time and temperature
  • Cleaning and sanitation
  • Cross-contamination and allergens
  • Personal hygiene
  • Basic food safety

This course can be taken online. To obtain ServSafe certification, you must pass a 40-question test with 75% correct answers.

Above the Food Handler is the Food Manager certification. As its title describes, it’s designed for managers of businesses in the food industry. Covered topics include:

  • Time and temperature control
  • Preparing, cooking, and serving food
  • Facilities, cleaning/sanitizing, and pest management
  • Foodborne microorganisms and allergens
  • Receiving and storing food
  • Personal hygiene
  • Food safety regulations

To obtain certification, you must pass the 90-question test with 75% correct answers.

Why Is ServSafe Certification a Good Idea?

Food safety is a real issue. Unsafe food handling can lead to sickness and even death. Adapting best practices helps prevent needless health risks. It can also ensure compliance, which is necessary for businesses that want to protect themselves against potential legal action.

Who Needs ServSafe Certification?

Typically, not all food handlers need a handler certificate. Some states require that at least one person on staff has the ServSafe Food Manager certification. Check with your local health department to find out the regulations in your area.

How Can Certification Prevent Issues?

Quite often, unsafe food handling is due to a lack of knowledge. A cook might not know the temperature at which a chicken is fully cooked or they might not know to change their gloves when handling peanut butter because it’s a common allergy.

Ideally, when a food service worker is trained these important issues would be covered. But this is often not the case. Having a formal course and exam afterward helps ensure that this knowledge is learned and digested.

Food safety is tremendously important. The ServSafe course and exam promote knowledge of the best food safety practices. To learn more, please contact us today.

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