Blog / January 19, 2024 / Nate Pollak / UPDATED January 24, 2024

How to Get a Food Handlers Card In LA

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    Food Handlers Permit Los Angeles (LA)

    Ready to scale up your restaurant business in LA? Before getting started, it’s important to ensure that your restaurant is adhering to the local licenses and permits required. This first starts with a food handlers card.

    To obtain a food handlers card in LA, you must comply with the California Food Handler Card Law, complete a food safety training course, pass an examination, and apply through the Environmental Health Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

    This is required for all food employees involved in the preparation, storage, or service of food in a food facility. The training course and assessment should be completed within approximately two and a half hours, and a minimum score of 70 percent is required to pass. The permit is valid for three years from the date of issuance.

    Here are a few simple steps to get started with a food handlers card in LA:

    1. Comply With California Food Handler Card Law

    Before securing your food handlers card, you’ll want to ensure that you’re registered for related food protection courses and prepared for the costs associated:

    • Purpose: To ensure that all food handlers have the necessary knowledge and skills to safely handle food in a professional setting.
    • Estimated Cost: $7.95-7.99 (depending on vendors)
    • Instructions: All food employees who prepare, store, or serve food, including servers, chefs, cooks, bartenders, hosts, and hostesses who handle food, are required to have a California Food Handler Card. Managers who already have a Food Protection Manager Certification don’t need a California Food Handler Card.

    2. Complete a Food Safety Training Course

    • Purpose: To provide basic, introductory instruction on foodborne illness, personal hygiene, and food safety, methods of preventing food contamination, procedures for cleaning and sanitizing equipment and utensils, and problems and potential solutions associated with facility and equipment design, layout, and construction.
    • Estimated Cost: $7.95-7.99 (depending on vendors)
    • Instructions: The course should be designed to be completed within approximately two and a half hours. The course may be offered through a trainer-led class or self-training and assessment.

    3. Pass the Exam

    • Purpose: To assess your understanding of the material covered in the food safety training course.
    • Estimated Cost: Depends on the organization issuing the exam.
    • Instructions: The assessment should consist of at least 40 questions regarding the required subject matter, and a minimum score of 70 percent is required to pass. The food handler card will be issued upon successful completion of the course and assessment.

    4. Apply for a Permit

    • Purpose: To legally work in a restaurant, mobile or stationary food preparation unit, or commissary in Los Angeles.
    • Estimated Cost: Varies according to the permit required.
    • Instructions: You need to apply through the Environmental Health Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The public health permit is separate from a business license, which is also required to operate a business and is issued by the municipality in which the business is located.

    Once you’ve followed these steps, you’re well on your way to building a new food business in LA. Explore our additional sources to learn more about food permit and license requirements:

    Useful Information Source Links:

    FAQs

    Who Needs a Food Handler Permit in LA?

    All food employees who prepare, store, or serve food, including servers, chefs, cooks, bartenders, hosts, and hostesses who handle food, are required to have a California Food Handler Card.

    How Long is the Food Handlers Permit Valid For?

    The permit is valid for three years from the date of issuance.

    What is the Passing Score for the Food Safety Training Course Exam?

    A minimum score of 70 percent is required to pass the examination.

    Where Can I Apply for a Food Handlers Permit in LA?

    You can apply through the Environmental Health Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

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    DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only and the content does not constitute an endorsement. CloudKitchens does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, images/graphics, links, or other content contained within the blog content. We recommend that you consult with financial, legal, and business professionals for advice specific to your situation.

    Sources: 

    Public Health. LA County. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/business/certified-food-handler-manager.htm

    California Legislative Information. Food Safety. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=200920100SB602

    LA Public Health. Food Handler Card. http://www.lapublichealth.org/eh/docs/business/faq-food-handler-card-en.pdf

    LA Org. Food Handling Permits. https://211la.org/resources/service/food-handling-permits-0