SB 476: Limón. Food safety: food handlers.

Existing law, the California Retail Food Code, provides for the regulation of health and sanitation standards for retail food facilities by the State Department of Public Health. Existing law, with specified exceptions, requires a food handler to obtain a food handler card within 30 days of their date of hire and to maintain a valid food handler card for the duration of their employment as a food handler. Under existing law, a food handler card is issued only upon successful completion of a food handler training course and examination that meets certain requirements. Existing law requires that at least one food handler training course and examination cost no more than $15, including a food handler card. A violation of the California Retail Food Code is generally a misdemeanor.

This bill would require an employer to consider the time that it takes for the employee to complete the training and the examination as compensable “hours worked,” for which the employer would pay, and to pay the employee for any necessary expenditures or losses associated with the employee obtaining a food handler card. The bill would require the employer to relieve an employee of all other work duties while the employee is taking the training course and examination. The bill would prohibit an employer from conditioning employment on the applicant or employee having an existing food handler card.

Under existing law, the provisions relating to a food handler card do not apply to a food handler subject to an existing local food handler program that took effect before January 1, 2009.

This bill would make the new provisions described above also applicable to a food handler who is subject to one of those existing programs.

The bill would require the department, by January 1, 2025, to post on its internet website a link to the internet website of certain accredited food handler training programs. The bill would require a local public health department to provide a link to that web page on its own internet website.

By increasing the scope of a crime and creating new duties for local public health departments, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that with regard to certain mandates no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

With regard to any other mandates, this bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs so mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

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