The Insurance Family Blog

Important Information If You Own a Restaurant - Senate Bill 602

Posted by Susie Scherff on October 28, 2010 at 3:34 PM

If you own a restaurant you will need to become familiar with Senate Bill 602. This is the California Food Handler Card bill. This bill requires most of the state’s restaurant workers to be trained and certified in proper food handling by July 1, 2011. The legislation that created the law, Senate Bill 602, is aimed at reducing kitchen-to-table illnesses at California’s restaurants. A food handler is defined by the law as a person who is involved in the preparation, storage or service of food in a food facility. The Sacramento Bee reports that employees pay $15 for the program and the exam. The 2½ hour training program consist of a short course, either self-directed online or led by a trainer, and a test on the elements of food safety needed to handle and serve food, including:
  • Washing hands with soap and water before preparing food.
  • Thoroughly cooking meat and poultry.
  • Avoiding cross-contamination of food.
  • Reporting suspected food-borne illnesses to local health authorities.
Online courses will be available through The National Restaurant Association ( and food safety website The food handler law was modeled after programs already in place for years in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties where foodborne illness outbreaks have decreased by 79 percent since the implementation of those measures, the bill’s backers said. These counties will be exempt from the new law. Others exempt from the law include certified farmers markets, school cafeterias and groceries and food facilities that provide in-house food safety training programs approved in other states and that are offered free during normal work hours. Food facilities subject to collective bargaining also are not covered, though the California Restaurant Association estimates that just 1-2 percent of the state’s restaurant workers are unionized. You can find additional information about this bill by going to the California Restaurant Association website
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Topics: California Restaurant Association, Senate Bill 602