ServSafe Certification

There are more than 14,000,000 food service workers in the United States that serve each American approximately 200 meals each year. 

The ServSafe® Certification and training program was developed and is currently administered) by the National Restaurant Association.  The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRA) was established more than a century ago, in 1919 and has 39,000 and more than ½ million foodservice businesses members.

The National Restaurant Association provides accreditation for ServSafe certification, that is more often than not, required by state law. The Conference for Food Protection (CFP)and ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) accredits the ServSafe Certification processes and programs. 

ServSafe certification is a training program that was developed to maintain the standards and safety of the professional workers in the restaurant/service industry. The purpose of the certification is to ensure that all food service workers understand the issues surrounding food safety and ensure these food and beverage workers comply with federal and state law. 

ServSafe State Regulatory Requirements

Each jurisdiction chooses to set forth the regulatory requirements for food and beverage workers in that particular jurisdiction. ServSafe.com offers an interactive state map that details the general obligations for each state. The map colors delineate the authority who sets the requirements (county, state, etc.), or if there are any requirements at all.

ServSafe Regulatory Map

Source: https://www.servsafe.com/ss/regulatory/default.aspx

Who Needs ServSafe Certification?

The NRA offers basic four certifications to food industry professionals that concerns the safe handling of food. The coursework and relevant certifications are as follows -

The ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification

The ServSafe Food Protection Manager course (CFPM) and certification educate food service managers regarding the dangers of foodborne illness. The ServSafe Food Protection Manager’s coursework meets the requirements as set forth by ANI and CFP and meets reliable standards of legal defensibility and validity.  

The ServSafe Food Protection Manager verifies to an employer that the person they hire to possess sufficient knowledge of food safety to protect the public from illnesses caused by foodborne germs. Coursework includes the essential issues of basic personal hygiene, sanitation, food safety, temperature, and time, to name a few. 

Coursework is available through traditional classrooms, a self-study program or online, and several languages. The ServSafe Food Manager Certification exam has a total of 90 multiple-choice questions, ten of which are included strictly for research-oriented purposes. A total of 60 (out of 80 questions) must be answered correctly to pass – this translates to a score of 75%. The ServSafe Food Protection certificate is downloadable, or by mail for a $10 fee. The exam has a time limit of two hours.

Should a test-taker not pass the certification exam, they have the option to re-take the exam within 30 days. A second re-take is available, but only after waiting another 60 days from the time of your most recent attempt. A total of 4 exam attempts are allowed in a one-year period. It is noted that all re-tests are proctored by a Registered Proctor with ServSafe.

A ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification is valid for five years.

The ServSafe Food Handler Certification

The ServSafe Food Handler certification provides students with the fundamental food safety knowledge and training required for those employees who handle food professionally. The coursework is multi-faceted with real-world examples that reinforce important food safety concepts. The coursework and exam has been developed based upon the FDA Food Code –guidance issued by the federal government for jurisdictions to use when establishing scientifically sound food handling requirements for their own districts. 

The ServSafe Food Handler certification exam includes 40 multiple-choice questions, and available through traditional classrooms, a self-study program or online, and several languages. An online exam’s results are available immediately after completing the exam. Upon successful passing of the exam, the test-taker will provide an achievement certificate and food handler card. 

The ServSafe Food Handler certification exam requires a passing grade of 75%

A ServSafe Food Handler certification is valid for three years. A re-test is available within 30 days, with a second re-take available, after waiting another 60 days. A total of 4 exams are permitted during a twelve-month timeframe.  All re-tests are proctored by a Registered Proctor with ServSafe.

The ServSafe Alcohol Certification

The ServSafe Alcohol program can be used for hosts, valets, bartenders, and bouncers, or anyone else employed by establishments that sell liquor. Course takers undertake training regarding using a team approach regarding the important issues of –

  • Responsible practices
  • Comprehend Alcohol Law
  • Understand Employee responsibilities under the law
  • The proper way to check ID
  • Real world examples of how to handle difficult situations related to alcohol, to name a few

The ServSafe Alcohol certification is an important tool for many businesses that serve liquor as the service of alcohol poses risks to beverage industry workers. Coursework is available through traditional classrooms, a self-study program, or online. Several states require either a state-specific quiz or relevant supplement material for alcohol service workers to be used during their ServSafe Alcohol training program. 

The risk management training and certification program outlines effective, responsible alcohol-service practices for all front-of-the-house staff: bartenders, waiters, hosts, bussers, security workers. Using a comprehensive approach, the program promotes team-based prevention in the face of various intoxication situations.

The ServSafe Alcohol certification exam includes 40 multiple-choice questions. An online exam’s results are available immediately after completing the exam. The ServSafe Food alcohol exam requires a passing score of 75%, which equals 30 correct questions. However, the passing grade for the ServSafe Alcohol Advanced exam is 80%. 

Note – ServSafe offers an Alcohol Cruise Line course for those professionals who work for and in the cruise line industry. 

The ServSafe Allergen Certification

Food allergies that impact American lives have been on an upward trend for the past few decades. The NRA also offers a comprehensive set of programs that speak to the social and cultural influences on today’s hospitality and restaurant industry. This program suite is entitled the ServSafe Workplace. 

The National Restaurant Association's ServSafe Allergens course helps food establishments, operators, and employees maintain compliance with federal allergen laws. It does so by offering the highest quality food allergen awareness training by the most trusted industry experts.

State and County Food Allergen Awareness Training Requirements

Each state or county in the nation sets forth the awareness training requirements of food and beverage workers with regard to food allergens. Allergen training requirements differ among states with each jurisdiction noting -

Which beverage/food industry professional must enroll in the food allergen awareness training program and pass the certification test to be eligible for employment in the jurisdiction?

Which coursework satisfies the food allergen awareness training courses are approved to satisfy the training requirement?

What are the precertification and renewal licensing rules of each jurisdiction’s food allergen training certification?

ServSafe's Allergen certification course and exam typically take approximately 1.5 hours to complete. If successful, online test-takers will be provided a link to print their Allergen Certification.

The ServSafe Allergens certification expires every three years.  

State Requirements for Allergen Training

https://www.servsafe.com/ServSafe-Allergens/Allergens-Training-Regulations

ServSafe Certification Training and Testing Costs

The ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification

ServSafe offers an online ServSafe Manager course (7th Edition) with the exam for $152.95. Employers who wish for their employees to take the certification exam with the oversight of a proctor may choose to have the employees tested in a testing center.  

The ServSafe Food Handler Certification

ServSafe offers an online ServSafe Food Handler Certification course with the assessment included for $15.  Learn more about how to get a food handler's card.

The ServSafe Alcohol Certification

ServSafe offers an online ServSafe Alcohol Certification course with the primary exam included for $30. The cost of the re-test exam is $18.

The ServSafe Allergen Certification

ServSafe offers an online ServSafe Allergen Certification course with the assessment for $22.

Practice Tests for ServSafe Certification

Each individual vying for their certification must first complete the training program offered by ServSafe. It is also helpful to take an online free practice test to determine your readiness for testing. Check out these practice tests for each ServSafe certification.

The National Restaurant Association Appeals Policy

The National Restaurant Association provides an appeals policy for the following circumstances -

  • When an individual has failed a ServSafe Certification examination, or
  • When an individual has been denied the ability to sit for a ServSafe Certification examination, or
  • When an individual whose certification has been revoked

The candidate must follow the National Restaurant's Association appeals policy, which requires the candidate to submit a detailed written request to customer service within 30 days after receiving ServSafe’s revocation or denial.

ServSafe will issue a final determination within 30 days of the receipt of the candidate’s written request. The final decision will be sent using a traceable method within ten days of the final determination. It is noted that the final decision of ServSafe’s Management Review Team is considered Final. The appeals process is easy. Follow these forms -

The Appeal Request Form

Submit the completed form to Customer Care