What is ServSafe?

What is ServSafe, and Why is it so Important for Your Food Business?

When it comes to food safety, it’s common for people to think of high-profile incidents like widespread recalls of lettuce due to E. coli outbreaks or food poisoning incidents at well-known restaurants. It’s essential to avoid having these negative associations with your restaurant.

Although it’s not possible to eliminate all cases of foodborne illness (for example, contamination can occur without your knowledge). There are measures you can take to ensure that your staff is handling food in the safest manner possible.

The initial step in ensuring food safety at your restaurant is to make sure that all individuals who handle food have ServSafe Certification. ServSafe is considered the leading program in food safety training. If your staff members are not certified, they must obtain it.

Here’s a comprehensive guide by The Food Safety Mentor to the ServSafe program, the process of getting certified, and the steps you need to take to guarantee that your employees are adept at handling food safely.

What is ServSafe Food Safety Certification?

ServSafe is an educational initiative from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) designed to educate food handlers, including restaurant employees, about the proper methods for food safety. Obtaining ServSafe certification is not mandatory for all individuals handling food. Food safety training requirements may vary by state or county, with some jurisdictions having no such need.

However, in locations where training is mandatory, the ServSafe program is usually structured to fulfill the legal requirements. To confirm that ServSafe meets the requirements in your region, it’s advisable to reach out to your local health department before pursuing certification.

There are various options for obtaining ServSafe certification. The most widely used and well-known program is the ServSafe Food Handler certification, intended for individuals in entry-level positions at food service establishments. This program includes topics such as:

  • Basic food safety
  • Avoiding cross-contamination
  • Personal hygiene
  • Time & temperature
  • Cleaning & sanitation

To become ServSafe Food Handler certified, you must finish an online course and pass a 40-question exam, scoring 75% or higher, with a minimum of 30 correct answers. If you succeed, you will receive a ServSafe Food Handler Certificate, called a food handler card. The highest level of ServSafe training available is the Food Manager certification.

The target audience for this curriculum is managers of restaurants and other food-related companies. This course addresses the following:

  • Foodborne microorganisms & allergens
  • Purchasing, receiving, & storing food
  • Personal hygiene
  • Preparing, cooking, & serving food
  • Facilities, cleaning, & pest management

An online course must be completed, followed by a 90-question test that must be passed with a score of at least 75% to become ServSafe Food Manager certified.

In some locations, restaurants must have at least one employee certified as a ServSafe Food Manager. However, these rules differ from state to state or county to county, so contact your local health authority for the most current local laws.

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How to Get a ServSafe Food Safety Certification?

All staff members must finish a course on food safety and pass a test to get certified. The certification program’s requirements are overseen and managed by the NRA.

The ServSafe certification process can be finished in person or online. The ServSafe website offers online training programs that generally last 6 hours to complete. Physical classes are available all around the country that lasts about eight hours.

Employees are obligated to take a proctored exam after finishing a course. In the United States, there are more than 4 thousand testing locations where you can take exams by Pearson Vue. Employees also have the option of taking the exam in Spanish or English. Even if the test is not overly complicated, it is still a good idea to prepare beforehand to know what to expect on test day.

An employee who passes the test will be given a three-year ServSafe Food Handler certificate. Finally, they will get ServSafe certification. Employees must repeat the training and examination every three years to keep their certification.

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Depending on the option you select, ServSafe certification varies in price. In addition, many scholarships are offered to assist in defraying the price of ServSafe certification. Different food safety courses are available at The Food Safety Mentor.

Getting your food service safety training and ServSafe certification is a significant first step if you want to increase your restaurant’s credibility and attract more customers.

Still have any confusion about professional food safety or food safety requirements? Contact us for more details and information now.