Food Handlers and TABC Certifications: Everything You Need to Know

In order to maintain safety and proper food handler expectations in the workforce, some workplaces in the state of Texas require that individuals who work with food must hold Food Handler certifications. Additionally, the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) requires that food handlers who serve alcohol have TABC certifications.

Therefore, food handler and TABC certifications from accredited training programs are necessary for these positions. Read on to learn more about the process needed to achieve the Food Handlers and TABC certifications in Texas.

What is a Texas Food Handler License?

A Texas Food Handlers License is a certification provided to people who obtain training and complete their food handler licensing program. The Department of State Health Services in Texas requires that individuals complete the training and submit an application and fee, to gain a license. The licensing programs in Texas can offer Food Handlers and TABC online courses, classroom courses, or private training. 

Accreditation is issued to applicants upon the successful completion of the food safety course and the final exam. In fact, the Department of State Health Services Public Sanitation and Retail Food Safety Group in Texas requires that all food handler certifications be obtained from an accredited program for those entities located in DSHS jurisdiction. By enforcing the education of these food service employees, they are promoting the health and safety of the citizens of Texas.

Who Needs a Food Handlers Permit in Texas?

So who needs a Food Handlers Permit anyway, how does one acquire a Food Handlers Permit in Texas, and why is this certification important? In the state of Texas, a Food Handlers Permit is required for all employees who work in positions where they must handle or serve food. This includes all employees that work with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces. In addition, individuals who work in food service roles such as kitchen staff, bussers, hostesses, servers, bartenders, barbacks, etc., need to be food handler certified.

Once people pass the test and receive their food handler card or certificate, this certification is valid up until the expiration date listed on the card or certificate. In the case that the card or certificate does not have an expiration date on it, then it is valid for two years from the date of issuance under 25 TAC §229.178 relating to Accreditation of Food Handler Education or Training Programs. 

For each food handler worker employed by a food establishment, the establishment must maintain on-premises documentation of completing the food handler training course under §228.33 relating to Certified Food Protection Manager and Food Handler Requirements. This documentation must be a certificate of completion and can be hard copy or electronic, but must be onsite and accessible upon request by a regulatory authority.

How Do You Get a Food Handlers Card in Texas?

To get a Food Handlers Card in Texas, one must complete an accredited food handlers course. According to Texas state requirements, employees that work with unpackaged food must obtain a food handlers certificate or card within 30 days from their initial date of employment. Many different online accredited training programs provide this course, which generally lasts around 1-2 hours and may be taken as online or in-person training. Of course, only accredited training programs apply to receiving a food handlers card. Therefore, it is important that you ensure that the training program you choose is certified and accredited. The training program must be approved by TXDSHS or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), such as the ServSafe Certification. You may also follow this link for a list of additional Food Handler Training Programs Accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

How Long Does it Take to Get a Food Handlers License in Texas?

To receive a Food Handlers License in Texas, one must first pass an accredited training course. These courses are generally around an hour or two long, depending on factors such as the particular training program and the participant’s previous knowledge and experience with the industry and food handling practices. After successfully completing the course, participants must take and pass an exam to test their knowledge of the course’s contents. If they pass this exam, they will be certified for two years from the date of issuance. Participants are typically allowed to retake the test a couple of times upon failure. However, this is dependent on the rules of their particular training program.

What is a TABC Certification?

Some food establishment jobs may require that their employees receive a TABC certification. This requirement is especially likely for employees working in food establishments that serve or sell alcoholic beverages. TABC stands for the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code, which is made up of the guiding laws for the alcoholic beverage industry as passed by the Texas State Legislature. A TABC certification provides recipients the knowledge and skills to lawfully abide by the TABC and avoid common alcohol service violations. The TABC certification also gives employers peace of mind and is intended to keep Texas citizens safe.

The TABC certification course teaches employees about the Texas state laws regarding alcoholic beverage sales. The course also teaches intervention techniques and ensures that sales are not made to minors or intoxicated customers.

Who Needs to be TABC Certified in Texas?

TABC certification is necessary for all food handler employees in Texas who are engaged in the sale, service, or delivery of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Server training should require TABC certification for workers serving alcoholic beverages. Additionally, the immediate managers of these employees must receive TABC certification. All of these workers and their direct managers must receive their TABC certification within 30 days of their initial date of employment. According to the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code, employers must have written policies for responsible alcohol service and ensure that each of their employees has read and understands these policies.

How Do You Get TABC Certification in Texas?

To receive a TABC Certification in Texas, one must complete a certification course through any agency-approved accredited training school or program. You may view a list of agency-approved TABC training schools by visiting this page.

What is the Difference Between Food Handlers and TABC?

While both courses help educate food establishment employees on proper expectations for ensuring safety in their industry roles, the Food Handlers and TABC courses have some notable differences. The Food Handler course teaches workers about the best practices and techniques for preventing foodborne illness, based on the guidelines set out by the Department of State Health Services Public Sanitation and Retail Food Safety Group in Texas. The TABC course, on the other hand, is for workers who handle alcohol and alcoholic beverages in their jobs. This course covers the laws in Texas related to serving and selling alcoholic drinks so that employers can avoid penalties related to underage drinking and promote safety in their establishments.

Final Thoughts on Texas Food Handlers and TABC Certifications

If you are interested in starting a food handler job in Texas, you must first ensure that you receive the appropriate Texas Food Handler Certificate for your position and it is important that you obtain proper certification with an accredited training course program. Once you receive your card or certification, you will then be covered to work in an appropriate food handler position for the next two years. By ensuring that employees obtain the appropriate Food Handlers and TABC certifications for their food handler positions, the state of Texas can promote health and safety for its citizens.

To learn more about certifications and hospitality trends, visit the Adia blog. We provide readers like you with the latest information about hospitality service topics. Additionally, if you would like assistance with finding a food handler job or are an employer looking to hire vetted food handlers and TABC certified workers for your business, look no further. Adia’s on-demand hospitality staffing platform matches qualified workers with open positions. Click the button below to see what our service can do for you.

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