Food Worker License & ServSafe Course Requirements
Introduction | Person-in-Charge | Food Worker | FAQ's
The food worker licensing procedure in its simplest form is a three-step procedure.
These steps are listed below. Detailed information follows the general procedure. The following is the three step licensing procedure:
The food worker obtains a license from the health department.
The food establishment records the food worker license number and posts a sign
with the percent of licensed food workers at the establishment. This sign is
provided by the health department.
The health department reviews the food establishment food worker licensing
records and compares those with the health department database of licensed food
workers. The percent of licensed food workers at the establishment is
determined and a sign is issued to the food establishment.
The information below describes a more detailed food worker licensing process.
The food worker takes an exam administered by the health department
- Exam is given at least weekly at the health department
- Regular hours will be set for individuals to take the exam
- No charge for taking the exam
- Exam can be taken one time per exam day until successfully passing the exam
- Health department staff will administer the exam and issue the license to the food worker
- Identifying information from the food worker will be collected
- License will be issued to the food worker
- License will have a unique identifying number
Some food workers may feel uncomfortable taking a written exam. They need to notify the health department so that other testing methods such as reading the exam questions out loud to the food worker can be used. In some cases, food establishment management may need to assist in a practical examination for the food worker.
- The food worker passes the exam and receives a food worker license
- Food worker is responsible for providing licensing information to the employer
- Entry-level workers can get a temporary (60 day) license from the health department. During that time, a regular license must be acquired.
- Students, both high school and college, may request a student license. No exam would be taken. The license would expire 120 days from the date of issue. The license would be valid one time per student.
- Food workers with proof of a current food safety certification, such as Serve Safe or Illinois Certification, do not need to take the exam but may need to be licensed.
- The food worker license is current for three years.
- Food worker and employer share responsibility for insuring the food worker license remains current.
The food worker is not required to attend food safety training provided by the Health Department. Food establishments can provide food safety training for the food worker.
- The Health Department will provide scheduled classes for food safety training.
- Classes will be regularly scheduled. Initially classes will be scheduled frequently and as demand decreases, classes will be held biweekly or monthly.
- It is the responsibility of the food worker to register for the food safety training.
- Food establishments share responsibility in the food worker licensing. Detailed requirements of food establishments for food worker licensing follows:
- A food establishment must have a minimum of 50% of its food workers licensed.
- The food establishment is required to provide a current log of employees and employee license numbers to a representative of the health department when requested.
- A sign provided by the health department stating the percentage of licensed food workers employed by the establishment is to be posted in a conspicuous place in the establishment for viewing by the public.
- Penalty for non-compliance of the preceding three items is a suspension of the food establishment operating permit.
- The percentage will be determined at a regular inspection and can be changed when another inspection occurs after a minimum of four months.
- Percentages will be displayed in increments of 10 i.e. 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 100%.
The entire food worker licensing process will be implemented over several months. Food establishments will be grouped by size, category, or other means and will be notified by the health department when their group is to have its food workers licensed. Ample time will be given for each group to transition into the licensing process. When the time has elapsed, health department monitoring will begin for the establishment.
During development of this licensing procedure, food establishments and food workers were asked for input. Common questions and possible situations from owners, managers, and workers were evident when the licensing process was being developed. These questions and situations were acknowledged and addressed by the health department. The responses to the questions and situations follow.
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