Overview of Online Food Handler Certificate Training in Florida
Food handlers are members of the hospitality industry who prepare, distribute, and display food products in restaurant and non-restaurant facilities such as schools, hospitals, and retirement homes. To ensure proper food handling, Florida State requires staff to hold food handler cards or certificates, which should be earned within 60 days of being hired. The primary goal of food handler training is to ensure that food products are sanitary and not sources of illness. Florida Health lists many Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)-approved training providers like 360training.com, StateFoodSafety.com, SafeStaff.org, and the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRSFP). During health inspections, authorities may ask to examine the food handler card and certificate of the staff, so it is necessary to comply with training requirements.
Food handler training is a non-degree, assessment-based certificate course that grants a card and a certificate to those who complete the course. Online food handler training courses are self-paced but can be completed in under two hours. The card and certificate are valid for three years and can be renewed by retaking both the course and the assessment test.
Food Handler Certificate Requirements
The process of earning the food handler certificate online is simple: purchase a course through a DBPR-approved provider, complete the training, and pass the assessment test. All steps are done online. Since food handling is an essential service, these courses teach basic food safety principles, proper food storage and preparation practices, contamination, the correct time and temperature parameters, and sanitation.
Information and Requirements
To earn a food handler certificate, applicants must comply with only two requirements: completing the training course and passing the assessment test. Teaching materials used in the delivery of online training include narrated slides, exercises, and quizzes. These courses take 1-2 hours to finish. Assessment tests have around 40-50 questions, and several organizations that offer the test require applicants to score at least 70% to pass.
Most of these courses are accessible through a laptop or desktop PC and may need Adobe Flash player to run. Some training providers may recommend certain browsers to access their website and learning materials.
The food handler card and certificate are valid only for three years so holders must have them renewed before the due date. This can be accomplished by retaking the online courses and the assessment tests.
List of Organizations that Offer Online Training Courses for Food Handler Card/Certificate in Florida
Training providers design their courses to fit the requirements of the FDA Food Code, as well as scientific or professional literature and industry practices. In most states, the basis for course accreditation is compliance with ASTM E2659-09 standards but, in Florida, the course should meet Administrative Code Chapter 509 (of the Florida Statutes) requirements. All courses, therefore, teach the same concepts but differ in delivery. Participants are expected to learn about contamination and cross-contamination risk reduction practices, potentially hazardous food (PHF), common foodborne illnesses (and symptoms thereof) and pests, time and temperature control methods, and procedures necessary to maintain a clean work environment.
SafeStaff.org is the official contractor of the Florida State DBPR and offers the SafeStaff® Foodhandler Training. The course, which is only available online, can be completed in two hours and costs $14.95 for non-members and $11.95 for members. After purchase, the course materials will be available for 90 days; they are compatible only on laptops or desktop PCs. SafeStaff.org recommends using Firefox to access the materials, which include narrated guides, exercises, and quizzes.
National Registry for Food Safety Professionals
The First Principles for Food Handlers training program of NRFSP is available both online and on-site. The online course runs for approximately 1-2 hours and costs $12.95. The lessons are conveyed through visual materials (with narration), which are accessible within 30 days of purchase. To pass the assessment test, applicants need to answer at least 70% of 40 questions (28 items) correctly.
360training.com offers the Florida Food Handler Training online course for $10. Accessible only through laptops and desktop PCs, the course features activities, animations, and quizzes to further the learning experience. The course will be available for a year, but this can be done in two hours. Finishing at least 90 minutes of the course lets the applicants proceed to the assessment exam, in which a score of 70% or higher (32 correct answers out of 45 questions) makes them eligible to get the card/certificate.
StateFoodSafety.com's S.E.R.V.E. Program is also a purely online learning experience and can be accessed through a laptop/desktop PC, tablet, or smartphone for a year after purchase. The course is interactive and uses many audiovisual props, and costs $10. Completing the training takes an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes and can run up to 2 hours if the applicant takes the assessment exam right away.
Many online courses by DBPR-approved providers are available online for under $15 and can be completed within two hours. After completing these interactive training modules, food handlers will earn their food handler cards and certificates and become more equipped in practicing safe food preparation and distribution.