Business owners can apply for either food safety manager or food handler certification online at ServSafe.com, or in classes led by food service professionals who are identified through ServSafe.com. The certification requirements vary between U.S. states and sometimes counties, so it is important to research local regulations to ensure that the correct certification is attained.
U.S. states can require business owners to gain certification themselves, either in food safety manager or food handler programs, or can require them to prove knowledge of safety standards, according to the guide at ServSafe.com. Some states allow individual counties to decide the requirements, and in New Mexico only, certification and demonstration of food safety knowledge are not required by law in any county.
The National Restaurant Association equally recognizes both online certification and certification through training classes taught by proctors, states ServSafe.com. Both require learning about food safety, then taking an exam. If an individual fails the exam, he can retake it within a 30-day period, but after a second failure, the examinee must wait 60 days to retake the exam. Once attained, food manager certificates are valid for five years, and food or alcohol handler certificates last for three years, but state regulations or requirements by employers may vary.