Do Bartenders Need a Food Handler Card in California?

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: March 3, 2024
  • Time to read: 5 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an Amazon Associate, and other affiliate programs, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Bartending isn’t just about crafting the perfect cocktail; it also involves a deep understanding of health and safety regulations. In California, the question arises: do bartenders need a food handler card? Let’s delve into this requirement’s intricacies and its essential aspects.

Key Takeaways

  • Legal Obligation: Bartenders in California must hold a food handler card, demonstrating their knowledge of food safety protocols.
  • Comprehensive Training: The California Food Handler Training covers various topics, from basic safety principles to proper food handling techniques, ensuring a thorough education.
  • Regional Recognition: The California Food Handler Program is accepted across counties, providing a standardized approach to food safety in Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego.
  • Regular Renewal: Keeping track of the expiration date is crucial, as California food handler cards typically need to be renewed every two to three years.

Are Bartenders Required to Have a Food Handler Card?

Yes, bartenders in California are considered food handlers and must hold a valid food handlers card. This includes bartenders involved in activities beyond drink preparation, such as handling garnishes or serving food items.

California’s SB 602 (source), passed in 2010, mandated that all waitstaff, cooks, bussers, bartenders, and hostesses handling food and beverage pourers must have the card.

It’s also important to know that some counties, such as San Diego and Sonoma, have additional training requirements. Check with your employer about what certification you need.

How To Get A Food Handler Card

Acquiring a food handler card in California involves a straightforward process. Individuals can opt for an online training course, which is widely available and accessible. The California Food Handler Training course covers basic food handling procedures, safe handling practices, and the prevention of foodborne illnesses.

360Training offers an accredited Food Handlers Training course that meets California’s RBS requirements.

What Type of Employees at the Food Establishment MUST Receive California Food Handlers Training?

It’s not just bartenders; various personnel within a food establishment in California must receive food handler training. This encompasses a broad spectrum, including food service workers, employees in healthcare facilities, and those in elderly nutrition programs.

Who Does NOT Need Food Handlers Training in California?

While mandatory for most, certain employees are exempt from the food handler training requirement. This includes workers in state detention facilities and those solely responsible for admission tickets in California.

How Long Do New Employees Have to Complete Food Handler Training?

Time is of the essence for new hires. California regulations stipulate 30 days for new employees to complete the food handler training (source). This ensures all personnel are well-versed in the state’s food safety protocols.

How Long Will My California Food Handler Card Stay Valid?

A food handler card is not a one-time affair. Typically, these certifications are valid for two to three years from the issue date (source). Bartenders and other food handlers must keep track of the expiration date and renew the certification promptly.

How Much Does the California Food Handlers Card Cost?

While complying with food safety regulations is paramount, the cost is also a consideration. The expense of obtaining a California food handler card is relatively modest, making it an affordable investment in one’s career.

How to Replace Your California Food Handlers Card if Expired or Lost?

Sources suggest contacting the school you originally got your card from to replace a lost card for a replacement or renewal. They may charge you a small fee.

Misplacing or letting a food handler card expire is not uncommon. Bartenders facing this situation must understand the replacement process to ensure ongoing compliance with California’s food safety regulations.

What is Covered in California Food Handler Training?

The California Food Handler Training covers a comprehensive range of topics. From basic food safety principles to proper techniques for handling food and preventing cross-contamination, bartenders undergo thorough education to ensure a safe food service environment.

Is this Course Accepted in Riverside, San Bernardino, or San Diego County?

Regional acceptance is crucial. The California Food Handler Program is widely recognized in Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties, ensuring that bartenders across these regions can comply with the same standards (source).

How Long Does the California Online Food Handler Program Take to Complete?

Opting for the online route provides convenience, but bartenders need to know the time commitment. The California Online Food Handler Program typically takes a few hours to complete, allowing for flexibility in scheduling.

How Soon Can I Get My Food Handler Card After Completing the Program?

The process is efficient for those who are eager to obtain their food handler card promptly. Once the online training is completed, bartenders can expect to receive their certification shortly thereafter.

Conclusion: Navigating California’s Food Handler Requirements

Bartenders must understand and comply with California’s food handler card requirements. It ensures legal adherence and creates a safe and hygienic environment for employees and patrons.

who needs a food handlers permit in Texas


How often do I need to renew my California food handler card?

California food handler cards are typically valid for three years from the issue date. It’s crucial to keep track of the expiration date and renew the certification promptly.

Are there exemptions from food handler training in California?

Yes, certain employees, such as those in state detention facilities and individuals solely responsible for admission tickets, are exempt from food handler training in California.

Can I replace my California food handler card if it’s lost or expired?

Absolutely. If your food handler card is lost or expired, you should first contact the school or course providers from which you obtained your certification.
If the school no longer offers the course or has closed, you may need to re-take your certification.

Is the California Food Handler Program accepted in all counties?

Yes, the California Food Handler Program is widely accepted in counties such as Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego, ensuring consistent standards across regions.

Who is required to have a food handlers card in California?

In California, individuals who handle and serve food, including bartenders, must have a food handler card. This includes anyone involved in food preparation, storage, and service within a food establishment.

360Training offers an accredited Food Handlers Training course that meets California’s RBS requirements.

Is ServSafe required in California?

The state of California does not specifically require ServSafe for food handlers. However, some employers may prefer or require ServSafe certification, which goes beyond basic food safety and includes comprehensive training for food service managers.

How much is a California food handlers card?

The cost of a California food handler card varies but is generally affordable. Prices can range from $10 to $15 for the online training course. It’s a relatively modest investment considering the importance of food safety knowledge for individuals working in the food service industry.

If you’re a bartender, you may want to combine it with TIPS responsible alcohol training, recognized in California.