California Online Food Handler Program Course Details

To earn your California food handler card, you must complete the 2.5-hour ANSI-accredited training program and pass a 40-question final exam. You have up to two attempts to pass the exam with a score of at least 70%.

When you successfully complete your exam, you can instantly download and print your food handler card. Your certificate remains valid for three years after the date it was issued, and you can access your account at any time to view or print your card.

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What You Will Learn

The goal of the California Online Food Handler Program is to educate food service employees about the key principles of food safety. Upon completion of the course, you will understand how safe behaviors, personal hygiene and proper sanitization can prevent food contamination and the spread of foodborne illnesses.

Module 1: Foodborne Illness

The course's first module covers the basics of preventing foodborne illness, from common food safety hazards to causes and symptoms of illness.

Learning outcomes for this module include:

  • Identify behaviors associated with foodborne illness and outbreaks
  • List common causes of foodborne illness
  • Name the classification of highly susceptible populations
  • Recall major biological, chemical and physical food hazards
  • State symptoms of illnesses you must report to your supervisor
  • Describe food sources, symptoms and control measures of common foodborne illnesses
  • Recognize the symptoms of exposure to major food allergens
  • Outline the required action related to ill food handlers

Module 2: Personal Hygiene and Food Safety

Learn about the crucial role of personal hygiene in maintaining high standards of food safety. This module covers the do's and don'ts of handwashing and the proper use of gloves and hair nets.

Learning outcomes for this module include:

  • Describe the relationship between personal hygiene and food safety
  • Identify the various types of ready-to-eat foods
  • Explain the correct procedures for bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food
  • List control measures to ensure food safety
  • State the requirements of proper hands and arms cleaning procedures
  • Recognize the food safety risks associated with unhygienic habits, including incorrect usage of gloves and hair restraints
  • Select the best plan of action when food handlers experience discharges from the eyes, nose and mouth
  • Recall animal handling prohibitions or restrictions

Module 3: Preventing Food Contamination

Cross contamination is a leading cause of foodborne illness. In this module, you'll learn how to prevent cross-contamination with proper safety protocols for transporting, storing and preparing food.

Learning outcomes for this module include:

  • State methods of preventing food contamination by cross-contamination
  • Describe the correct safe food handling operations when transporting, receiving and storing food
  • Recall appropriate pest control measures to keep food establishments free of contaminants
  • Summarize proper produce washing techniques
  • Identify potential food contaminants when working with ice and other additives

Module 4: Cleaning and Sanitization

Practicing effective cleaning and sanitization techniques is vitally important for all food handlers. Learn how to properly clean, sanitize and dry food equipment and utensils.

Learning outcomes for this module include:

  • Select the proper procedures for cleaning and sanitizing equipment and utensils
  • Recall when and how specific methods of cleaning and sanitization should be utilized
  • List the frequency at which various equipment and utensils must be cleaned
  • State the different methods of sanitization
  • Identify the correct exposure time for qualified sanitizers
  • Explain how to ensure sanitizing solutions are effective
  • Summarize the appropriate techniques when working with warewashing equipment
  • Outline the methods of drying, including specific drying agents

Module 5: Time and Temperature

Time and temperature controls prevent the spread of pathogens that cause foodborne illness. Learn about dangerous temperature zones and how long cooked and uncooked foods remain safe when they aren't kept at the right temperature.

Learning outcomes for this module include:

  • Explain the relationship between time and temperature as it relates to food safety
  • State the specific temperatures at which TCS food/PHF must be cooked, held and reheated
  • Recall correct temperature and time controls during the frozen, cooling, preparation and thawing phases of food handling
  • List proper techniques when freezing and microwaving raw animal foods
  • Recognize the importance of time as a public health control
  • Summarize first-in, first-out food rotation procedures

For additional information about the California Online Food Handler Program, visit our FAQ page.