Food Safety Certification

Each retail food establishment in Santa Clara County is mandated by state law to employ at least one person certified in food safety.  There are a number of organizations that provide the necessary training and testing for certification.  The Department of Environmental Health has developed its own training and testing program that meets the requirements for this certification.  Information can be found below for certification request forms, requirements, testing and certification providers and to find out how to add your company to our list of food safety exam providers. 


Food Safety is everyone's business. It's important to you, as the operator of a retail food establishment, so your customers will continue to patronize your business. It's important to the public so they will know that dining out is safe. And, it's important to the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health because it is our job to work with you to help ensure that all food is safe to eat.

California state law requires that most retail food facilities that handle unpackaged food of any kind employ at least one person who is certified in food safety. Certification in food safety simply means that you or at least one of your employees is required to have basic knowledge of the causes of foodborne illness and its prevention, pass an approved examination, and possess a valid certificate in food safety.

As of January 1, 2000, each affected food business - restaurant, market, bakery, mobile food preparation unit, and commissary - has had to meet this requirement. Failure to have at least one certified owner or employee may result in the loss of your permit to operate. One person cannot satisfy this requirement for more than one facility, although multiple facilities at the same location and under the same ownership will need only one person who is food-safety certified. The certified person must be employed at the business, but need not be present at all times. Certifications must be renewed every five years by passing an approved examination.

The law also establishes that there are providers of food safety testing and certification (see list below). Additional training and testing organizations may be recognized in the future. The Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health has offered food safety training courses, as well as testing and certification since 1999 to help you meet this requirement.

For further information or assistance, please call the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health at 1-408- 918-3400 during normal business hours. 

Add Your Company to Our List of Food Safety Exam Providers

Provider List:
To assist Santa Clara County food facilities, the Department of Environmental Health will maintain a list of local providers of certified food safety examinations. This list will be available on a request basis as well as on our department web site.

If you are a provider of a certified food safety exam and would like to be included on our list, please complete the application form below and fax it to 408-258-5891.

The provider list will be updated on a periodic basis. Those wishing to become certified will be advised to contact providers directly for information regarding specific dates and location of classes and exams, as well as the cost of training and certification.  Please be advised that inclusion on our provider list is in no way considered to be an endorsement of the actual training provided. In addition, Santa Clara County is not responsible for the services offered by those on the provider list.

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