Restaurant workers must pass a food handler's test in seven states: Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, Alaska, Florida and Utah. Several other states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, Nevada and New York, carry county requirements for passing the food handler's test.
In states or counties where a food handler test is required, all restaurant employees must pass the exam and receive a food handler's permit within 30 days of employment. A food handler test for restaurant employees can be taken online or in a local classroom environment and is generally arranged by the employer upon commencement of the job. Acceptable test scores vary from state to state and county to county and it is important to check the relevant pass requirements for the relevant location.
The food handlers test is split into five sections covering all aspects of food safety. The sections are Basic Food Safety, Personal Hygiene, Cross-contamination and Allergens, Time and Temperature, and Cleaning and Sanitation. The course takes approximately two hours to complete, and it is followed by a 40-question exam with no time limit. The most common pass rate is 75% and the exam may be taken as many times as necessary in order to gain a permit.