The questions found on food handlers' tests deal with food-borne illnesses, allergens in food, proper food storage and temperature control when holding, cooking or reheating food. Questions may also cover cross-contamination risks, sanitizing procedures, personal hygiene and pest control. Questions are usually multiple choice.
The goal of the test is to prevent illnesses caused by food that is improperly stored, prepared on unsanitary work surfaces or prepared by workers who are not following proper hygiene procedures. The food handler test includes questions about the most potentially hazardous foods, how to store and prepare potentially hazardous foods safely, and the types of bacteria that cause most food-borne illnesses. The test may also include questions about food expiration dates and how to determine that a shipment of food is free from contamination.
In addition to knowing the cooking temperatures required for specific foods, test-takers must know the temperatures required for refrigerators and freezers and the proper methods for using various types of kitchen thermometers. Expect questions about sanitizing work surfaces and personal hygiene to be specific regarding such things as the proper cleaning solutions and hand washing protocols.
Food handler testing and certification processes vary by state. Most states provide study guides and sample questions for test takers.