ServSafe is the trademarked food safety certification system developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
The ServSafe program helps ensure that restaurant employees know the proper way to handle and store food to prevent food-borne illnesses and to promote safety. ServSafe courses are available online and in some educational facilities around the country.
Three types of ServSafe courses are offered online:
ServSafe for managers includes classes on facility sanitation, how to prevent cross-contamination, pest management, hygiene and food handling. The course provides instruction on how to actively manage their facility and employees to reduce food-borne illness risk and food safety.
ServSafe for employees includes basic food safety instruction including personal hygiene, food holding times and temperatures, allergens and preventing cross-contamination of foods, cleaning and sanitation.
The ServSafe Alcohol certification course covers all of the issues inherent in serving alcohol to the public, including current laws, the responsibilities of servers, checking identification and monitoring customer intoxication levels.
Every state has certain requirements for food service workers, and requirements often vary from state to state. Most accept online training in ServSafe. Some state or county food service regulatory and inspection agencies require that testing be carried out and graded locally.
The online Starters course for employees includes a non-proctored assessment. After passing the assessment, students can print out a Starters Certificate of Completion. This may not fulfill the requirements of the student's local health department regulations.
If your health department requires a ServSafe Manager certification, they may allow you to take the course online and take the test either online or at a local facility. ServSafe offers proctored, online testing for certification.
As of 2010, the ServSafe Manager online course cost $125, with an additional $36 each for either the electronic online exam voucher or the printed voucher.
Before taking the online certification exam, check with your local food service regulatory agency to be sure it will accept online certification.
The Starter's Course for employees cost $15 and the Employee Guide is $5.
The ServSafe Alcohol course costs $30 and includes both the course and an examination registration code. Not all states allow online testing and some have additional requirements.
The Starters course takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. There is no time limit for the assessment at the end of the course.
The Management course is self-paced and takes several hours. Students have 90 days from the date of registration to complete the online course.
The ServSafe Alcohol course takes four to five hours to complete.
In order to take online courses, you must have a PC. Macintosh computers are not supported. Do not use the Safari browser to take the course.
You will need a Pentium III or better, 500MB of RAM, sound card and speakers. High-speed Internet access is recommended. Your browser should be Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher with cookies enabled or Firefox 2.0 or higher. You will also need the latest Adobe Flash Player and you will have to disable pop-up blockers while working on the course.
Set your monitor at its highest capability. The "millions of colors" setting is recommended.
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