Who Needs a Food Handler’s Card in Michigan?

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 5 min.

In the bustling culinary world of Michigan, ensuring food safety is paramount. From certified food managers to food handlers, understanding the intricacies of training, certification, and local regulations is crucial.

This article will explore who needs a Food Handlers Card in Michigan, why it’s necessary, and how to obtain one.

Key Takeaways:

  • Foundational Food Safety Knowledge: Understand the basics of food safety to create a safe and hygienic food service environment.
  • Leadership Role of Certified Professionals: Certified food managers lead teams, ensuring compliance and contributing to enhanced food safety standards.
  • Flexible Learning with Online Training: Online certification courses offer flexibility, allowing busy professionals to learn independently.
  • Certifications Build Consumer Trust: Displaying certifications, such as the Food Handlers Card and Certified Food Manager Certificate, signifies a commitment to safe and hygienic food services, building consumer trust in Michigan’s culinary scene.

Do You Need a Food Handler’s Card to Bartend in Michigan?

No, you do not need a food handler’s card to bartend in Michigan. However, it is recommended for anybody who handles food to have one, so having one will increase your job opportunities.

The Basics of Food Safety

Food Safety Knowledge

Before delving into certifications, it’s vital to grasp the basics of food safety. Understanding how to handle food safely, maintain hygiene, and prevent contamination lays the foundation for a successful career in the food industry.

Local Regulations and Michigan Food Law

Michigan’s food safety regulations are governed by local health departments and the state’s specific laws. Familiarizing yourself with these regulations is essential for anyone involved in food service establishments, ensuring compliance and public health.

Certified Food Managers

Certified Food Manager Certification

A certified food manager oversees and implements food safety practices in a food service establishment. The certification process involves completing a training course, passing an exam, and obtaining a certified food manager certificate.

Importance of Certified Food Managers

Certified food managers are key players in upholding food safety standards. They possess the knowledge and skills to lead their teams, maintain food contact surfaces, and ensure the establishment complies with local health department regulations.

Online Training for Certified Food Managers

Obtaining a certified food manager certification is more accessible than ever, thanks to online training courses. These courses, provided by accredited organizations, allow individuals to learn at their own pace, providing the flexibility needed for busy professionals.

Food Handlers

Who needs food handler training in Michigan?

In Michigan, individuals who work with unpackaged food or food-related surfaces, equipment, and utensils should undergo food handler training. This includes various roles such as chefs, line cooks, prep workers, waitstaff, food runners, bartenders, bussers, dishwashers, and store clerks selling unpackaged food.

Food Handlers Card

Individuals directly involved in food preparation, handling, or service are often required to obtain a Food Handler Card. This card signifies that the holder has completed food handler training, passed an exam, and knows safe food handling practices.

Michigan Food Handler Card

In Michigan, obtaining a Food Handler Card is a common requirement for those working in food service establishments. The card is issued after completing a training program approved by the local health department and passing a certification exam.

Online Food Handlers Training

Like certified food manager training, online courses are available for food handlers. These courses cover safe food handling, preventing foodborne illness, and maintaining clean and sanitized surfaces.

How to Obtain Certifications

Online Certification Courses

Both certified food managers and food handlers can benefit from online certification courses. Approved providers often provide these courses and offer the convenience of learning at your own pace.

Approved Providers in Michigan

It’s crucial to choose an approved provider for certification courses in Michigan. Local health departments typically list accepted organizations offering courses that meet the state’s requirements.

In-Person Training Options:

For those who prefer a more traditional approach, in-person training options are available. Local health departments or accredited organizations may offer classroom-style training for both certified food managers and food handlers.

Benefits of Certification

Enhanced Food Safety

Certified food managers and food handlers contribute to enhanced food safety in their establishments, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses and ensuring customers’ well-being.

Legal Compliance

Certification is not just a best practice; it’s often a legal requirement. Maintaining certified food managers and trained food handlers is essential for compliance with local health department regulations and Michigan state law.

Consumer Trust

Displaying certifications, such as the Food Handler Card and Certified Food Manager Certificate, builds consumer trust. It assures them that the establishment is committed to providing safe and hygienic food.


In Michigan’s vibrant culinary scene, prioritizing food safety through certified food managers and trained food handlers is non-negotiable. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting in the industry, understanding the certification processes, online training options, and local regulations is essential.

By investing in food safety knowledge and obtaining the necessary certifications, you contribute to a safer food environment and set a standard for excellence in the ever-evolving world of Michigan’s food service establishments.


What is the difference between a certified food manager and a food handler?

A certified food manager oversees the implementation of food safety practices in a food service establishment and typically undergoes more extensive training. A food handler is directly involved in food preparation, handling, or service and must complete basic food safety training.

How long is the certification valid?

The validity period varies, but certified food manager certificates and Food Handlers Cards typically need renewal every 2-3 years (source). Check with your employer, local health department or certification provider for renewal requirements.

Can I take the certification exam in a language other than English?

Many certification providers offer exams in multiple languages, including Spanish. Check with your chosen provider to ensure they accommodate your language preference.

Are there exemptions for certain establishments or businesses?

Some establishments may be exempt from specific requirements based on their size or the nature of their operation. However, it’s essential to check with your local health department to determine the specific regulations that apply to your business.