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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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What is a Food Manager?

Contact the Food Safety and Sanitation Program

A “Food Manager” is a person who is responsible for the food establishment and/or has direct authority, control or supervision over employees who engage in the storage, preparation, display, or service of foods. They are not required to have the “job title” of manager.

A "Certified Food Manager" is one who has passed a written certification test, which has been approved by the Department, which demonstrates a basic knowledge of food protection practices.

What type of Food Establishments are required to have a Certified Food Manager?

Food service establishments as defined in section 381.0072. Florida Statutes, are required to meet manager certification requirements, unless otherwise exempted. All establishments required to have a certified food manager shall designate, in writing, the food service manager or managers for each location. The establishments include, but are not limited to:

  • Public and Private Schools using a contracted food service provider (i.e. food workers not employed by the school)
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Mobile Food Units and Caterers that are required to maintain a Department of Health food Sanitation Certificate
  • Detention facilities

Residential Facilities that are required to maintain a Department of Health food certificate, such as, but not limited to:  

  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Non-Residential
  • Hospices
  • Adult Day Cares
  • Intermediate Care Facility for the Developmentally disabled (ICFDD)
  • Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care (PPEC)

The following types of food service establishments are exempted from Department of Health manager certification requirements:

  • Bars and lounges
  • Public and private schools (provided that the food service is operated by school employees)
  • Civic Organizations
  • Theaters that are required to maintain a Department of Health food certificate

What are the responsibilities of a Certified Food Manager?

It shall be the responsibility of the certified manager or managers to inform all employees under their supervision and control who engage in the storage, preparation, or serving of food, to do so in accordance with acceptable sanitary practices as described in the Food Hygiene Rule, Chapter 64E-11 (PDF file, 260 KB), Florida Administrative Code.

Establishments that serve highly susceptible populations (a group of persons who are more likely than other populations to experience foodborne disease because they are immunocompromised or older adults institutionalized or preschool age children in custodial care), or that have three or more employees at one time engaged in the storage, preparation or service of food, must have at least one certified manager present at all times when these activities are taking place. All other establishments (general populations with two or less employees) must have a certified manager or managers responsible for all periods of operation but the manager or managers need not be present at all times.

How do I become a Certified Food Manager?

To become a certified food manager in compliance with Department of Health requirements, individuals must successfully pass a certification examination administered by any approved Manager Certification Test Provider (see below for listing).

Applications are available directly from the approved providers. The Department of Health does not require individuals to attend an examination preparation or training course; however, preparation courses, study guides, and other helpful materials are offered by each of the approved test providers.

Please contact the approved test provider for times, dates, and cost of the examination as well as ordering training materials and scheduling a preparation course. Make sure you request the Florida Department of Health, Food Manager Certification test information, since these providers do offer examinations for other food related programs. The test provider issues a certificate to successful participants, which is valid for a period of five years from the date of issuance. Each certified food manager must become re-certified through testing after the five year period. All establishments shall designate in writing the food service manager or managers for each location.

The approved test providers are listed below in alphabetical order:

Is my establishment required to have more than one certified food manager?

Under most circumstances, more than one certified food manager will be necessary. Those establishments that do not serve a highly susceptible population and have no more than two food workers engaged in the storage, preparation, display, or serving of food, at one time, are allowed to have at least one designated certified food manager.

What happens if the certified food manager resigns or is terminated from the establishment?

When a food service establishment's certified food manager ceases their employment and renders the establishment "out of compliance" with food manager certification requirements, the establishment has 90 days to come into compliance.

How do I obtain a copy of my Food Manager Certification?

If you are unable to locate your food manager certificate, please contact the approved provider who issued your certification for a replacement and any applicable fees.

The general requirements for manager certification can be found in section 64E-11.012, F.A.C. (PDF file, 260 KB) of the Department of Health - Food Hygiene Rule.

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF).  The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.