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Food Employee Certification

The PA Department of Agriculture Food Employee Certification Act, 3 Pa C.S.A. 6501 – 6510, effective January 22, 2011, requires one employee per licensed food facility to obtain a nationally recognized food manager certification. National exam programs are those that have been approved by ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board)​ using the Conference of Food Protection certified food protection manager standards. 

Compliance with Provisions

    • The certified employee must be available during all hours of operation
    • The certified employee is the Person-in-Charge (PIC) when in the facility
    • The Certification Certificate must be posted in the facility in public view
    • New facilities have 90 days to comply with the Act
    • Existing facilities which are not in compliance due to employee turnover or other loss of their certified employee shall have three (3) months from the date of loss to comply
    • An employee may only serve as the certified manager for one (1) facility (Exemption: an event where a facility has multiple stands and approved by PDA)

Exemptions to the Act

The following facilities are exempt from the provisions of this Act and although encouraged to take a course are not required to do so.

  1. Retail food facilities where only commercially prepackaged food is handled and sold. This includes TCS foods (time/temperature controlled for safety food) and non-TCS foods

  2. Retail food facilities that handle only non-TCS foods

  3. All food manufacturing facilities

  4. Retail food facilities managed by a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986

  5. Retail food facilities managed on a not-for-profit basis

  • Volunteer fire company or an ambulance, religious, charitable, fraternal, veterans, civic, agriculture fair or agricultural association or any separately chartered auxiliary of any of the above associations

  • Organizations supporting extra-curricular recreational activities for youth of all public, private and parochial school systems. (examples: school booster clubs, Little League or Midget Football Associations)

*Time/temperature control for safety food means a FOOD that requires time/temperature control for safety (TCS) to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation

Manager Certification Programs

The ANAB maintains a list of nationally recognized food protection manager certification programs on their website. Completion of any of the MANAGER food protection certification programs will serve as a valid food employee certification for your facility. Different types of certification programs are available. It is your responsibility to ensure you are taking a MANAGEMENT course, NOT a food handler course.

For a list of certification providers throughout Pennsylvania see course listings under publications.

Local Health Jurisdictions

Retail food facilities in the Local Health Jurisdictions of Allegheny County, Bucks County, Chester County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and State College Borough Health Departments should contact those Local Health Departments directly for more information on their Certifications programs. All other local health jurisdictions will follow the state mandated food employee certification requirements as indicated above.