Texas requires food handler training for all individuals working in Texas food service establishments – (i.e., restaurants, cafes, bakeries, delis, mobile vendors, food trucks, bars, kiosks, convenience stores, and other food service employees).
As of September 1, 2016 and as part of the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER), all food handler service individuals working in Texas facilities who are involved in preparing, storing, or handling food must now successfully complete an accredited food handler training course. Employees have have 60 days from date of hire to get their certificate.
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Examples of Texas food service employees required to obtain a Food Handler Certificate include: chefs, cooks, mobile food vendors, bartenders, host/hostesses that handle food, caterers, supervisors and food managers.
Texas Food Establishments requiring training and certification:
Types of food establishments that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) regulates includes:
- Delis (including those within grocery stores)
- Cafés (including those within retail stores)
- Food trucks, food carts and trailers
- Concession stands
- Cafeterias (that are open to the public)
- Convenience stores that serve food
- Mobile food vendors
- Temporary food booths and kiosks at events and festivals
- Various other businesses and organizations that engage in food preparation
and food service
Texas Food Safety Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines
Texas Food Safety Code for Food Handlers and Certified Food Managers:
- Texas Food Establishments Rules (TFER) – Chapter 228
- 2015 Summary of Changes to Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) – Chapter 228
- Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) – Texas Statutes and Laws – Retail Food Establishments
- Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) – Regulatory Clarifications, Guidance Documents and General Publications – Retail Food Establishments
- Texas Department of State Health Services (DHSH) – Permitting Information – Retail Food Establishments
- Texas Administrative Code – Title 25: Health Services – Chapter 229: Food and Drug – Subchapter K: Texas Food Establishments – Rule Section 229.176: Certification of Food Managers
- Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 437 – Regulation Of Food Service Establishments, Retail Food Stores, Mobile Food Units, And Roadside Food Vendors
On October 11, 2015 the new Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) went into effect. Some of the new significant changes in the TFER include:
- A new statewide mandate that all food employees successfully complete a food handler training course within 60 days of employment. This food handler requirement began on Sept. 1, 2016.
- Added requirements for the “original” certified food protection manager certificate being posted conspicuous to the customer’s location.
- Added requirement for food handler certificates to be located on site.