This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.
Food safety certification is a way for workers in the food industry to show that they are fully versed in how to prevent foodborne illness and ensure public health. It provides diners peace of mind that their food is safe. This is why local governments will enact a food handler card law requiring workers to complete food handler training. In many states, this law requirement varies depending on the county.
In Utah, one law applies statewide. Still, the process of getting your permit can be complicated, so it’s worth going over what employees will need to do to get a permit in the state of Utah.
Utah food handling requirements
Food handling requirements throughout the state of Utah are laid out by the Utah Department of Health in rule R392-103. The full text of this rule is five pages long and covers all the requirements for getting a food handler’s permit in Utah. Workers who handle food, including temporary event workers, are required to obtain a food handlers permit. This includes:
Anyone who may come in contact with food needs to have a permit. Other important things to know about the state rule include:
You only have a certain amount of time after a new employee is hired to make sure they receive a permit. As far as timing is concerned, there are checkpoints you need to keep in mind:
- 14 days – This is the amount of time an employee has from the day they’re hired to complete a training course and receive certification. This certification is not a food handler permit.
- 30 days – This is the amount of time an employee has to receive an official permit. To receive a permit, you need to show an approved certification to your local board of health. Most training providers should take care of this step, but it is important to remember that certificates are only temporary and all employees do need official permits.
- 3 years – Permits are valid for three years. After this time, employees will need to renew their permits to continue working.
Approved training program
While many states accept any training programs, as long as they are accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Utah’s requirements are stricter. Not all ANSI-accredited programs will be acceptable. Utah’s Department of Health has a full list of acceptable programs, including in-person and online training courses.
Training and exam requirements
All Utah-approved courses for food safety training must be at least 75 minutes long and cover the following topics:
- Food protection: Limiting harmful pathogens
- Food protection: Destroying pathogens and avoiding contamination
- Equipment, utensils, linens
- Employee health and hygiene
After training, there will be a test. Each program’s test may differ slightly. All food handler exams in Utah require at least 75% correct answers to qualify for a permit.
After three years, permits need to be renewed. Someone whose current permit expires has seven days after the expiration to renew. Renewal will require retaking a training course and passing another exam.
Revoking or suspending a permit
Anyone’s permit can be revoked or suspended by a licensed health official if one of three things occur:
- They have an illness that could be passed through food handling.
- They have two or more of the same violations cited by health inspectors.
- They show willful disregard for food safety.
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What’s covered in training
While individual training courses may differ slightly, you can give any new staff a sense of what will be covered by looking at the ServSafe training course. This online course is recommended by the Utah Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association.
ServSafe covers five areas of food safety:
- Basic food safety
- Personal hygiene
- Cross-contamination & allergens
- Time & temperature
- Cleaning & sanitation
Cost of a Utah food handlers permit
There are two fees associated with food handler training:
- The cost of the permit. This cannot be more than $15.
- The cost of training. This varies by program.
The total cost is likely to be somewhere between $20 and $30. You can also check your county website to see if your business or any employees are eligible for fee waivers or reductions.
Getting your food handler permit
Food safety is an important issue and Utah treats it accordingly. Remember, all employees who handle food need to acquire a permit within 30 days. Be sure to use a training program from the list of Utah-approved providers. If you have any other questions, you can always check your county website to make sure you and your staff are meeting all of your requirements.