Marion County MO Health Department and Home Health Agency.  Located in Hannibal, Missouri  
Marion County MO Pubic Health Services
Marion County MO Pubic Health Services  

Food Worker License & ServSafe Course Requirements

Introduction | Person-in-Charge | Food Worker | FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Q. Who needs to have a food license?

A: Anyone in the food establishment that works with unpackaged food, food equipment, or utensils, or food contact surfaces. This includes but not limited to wait staff, bus staff, dishwashers, bartenders, and convenience store workers. This does not include maintenance workers repairing food equipment or persons-in-charge who are required to have a food safety certification from an accredited class such as Serve Safe.

Q: How do I get a license?

A: Go to the health department at 3105 Rt W in Hannibal. Take the exam on scheduled exam days and receive a passing score of 70% or better.

Q: What does the license cost and how long does it last?

A: Ten dollars for a license that expires in three years.

Q: What do I need to know to pass the exam?

A: Basic food safety knowledge including personal hygiene, understanding of cross contamination, proper food temperatures, cleaning, and sanitizing. Many food workers have already received this knowledge through training provided by their employer.

Q: Do I need to attend a food safety class?

A: No. A food safety class is regularly scheduled at the health department. You may register for this class if you wish. If you believe your knowledge of food safety is sufficient to pass the exam, you can take the exam without attending the food safety class.

Q: I have a current food safety certificate from the National Restaurant Association or the state of Illinois or another accredited food safety course. Do I need to get a license?

A: Yes if you are not a person-in-charge at your place of employment. Show proof of your current food safety certificate and you do not need to take the exam. All you need to do is pay the license fee to receive your license.

Q: Where will the classes be held?

A: The classes will be held at the Marion County Health Department located at 3105 Rt. W in Hannibal.

Q: Where will the exam be held?

A: The exam location is the Marion County Health Department office located at 3105 Rt.W in Hannibal.

Q: What are the dates and times for the classes and exams?

A: Dates and times for classes and exams will be confirmed up to a year in advance. Contact the health department for the scheduled times. It is the responsibility of the food worker to schedule time for the exam and or class.

Q: Will the license record keeping be complicated for the food establishment?

A: Efforts will be made to make the licensing procedure as simple as possible. It is recognized that additional time will be needed to maintain adequate records. It is the responsibility of the food establishment to comply with the Marion County Food Ordinance.

Q: What type of records does a food establishment need to keep for review by the health department?

A: A log of current employees needs to include the employee’s name and food worker license number. These records need to be accessible at all times by the person-in-charge.

Q: Restaurant help is currently considered an entry level job field. How do food establishments hire entry level people with no license?

A: A temporary license is issued at the health department. This license is valid for sixty days during which, the holder is required to sucessfully complete the exam and receive a regular license.

Q: An establishment wants to maintain a high licensed food worker percentage number. Will food workers with temporary licenses be included in the percentage?

A: Yes. Effective monitoring of the licensing program will transition these workers to a regular license.

Q: Can a food establishment continually operate with a high percentage of temporary licensed food workers?

A: Probably. This is seen as a rare occurrence. If it happens, other issues involving establishment inspections can be used to encourage this practice to end.

Q: A food worker is not mentally capable of taking a written exam. Will that eliminate them from the food worker jobs?

A: These case situations will be handled individually. Management will be involved and on-the-job performance will be evaluated.

Q: A food worker does not speak, read, or write using the English language. How will that food worker receive a license?

A: These case situations will be handled individually. Management will be involved and on-the-job performance will be evaluated. An option to have the test read to the food worker will be given when necessary.

Q: What workers in a food establishment need to be licensed?


  • Dishwasher? Yes
  • Wait staff? Yes
  • Cashier? No if other duties do not involve touching food or food contact surfaces.
  • Bus staff? Yes
  • Bookkeeper? No if food or food contact surfaces are not touched as part of normal duties.
  • Stock boy? No if only prepackaged non potentially hazardous food is handled.
  • Janitor? No if other duties do not involve touching food or food contact surfaces.
  • Maintenance staff? No if other duties do not involve touching food or food contact surfaces
  • Delivery staff? No if food has been prepackaged and other duties do not involve touching food or food contact surfaces.
  • Cooks? Yes
  • Bartenders? Yes
  • Produce? Yes
  • Meat? Yes
  • Deli? Yes
  • Bakery? Yes.

Q: Food establishments such as Dollar General, Pamida, Big Lots that sell prepackaged food and milk products. Who needs to be licensed at these facilities?

A: The person-in-charge of each shift.

Q: Institutional facilities such as nutrition centers and private schools use volunteer workers. Are they to be licensed?

A: Paid employees will need to be licensed.

Q: Will the food worker be notified when his license expires?

A: It will be the responsibility of the food worker and the employer for the food worker to possess a current license.

Q: What happens if food worker does not successfully complete the licensing process during the temporary license status?

A: A temporary license not current at the time of licensing validation of the food establishment will count as an unlicensed employee.

Q: What happens if a food establishment does not keep records?

A: The facility permit to operate will be suspended until adequate records are available to health department personnel.

Q: Can a food establishment get a new sign when the percentage of licensed workers increases?

A: Time constraints will allow a licensing validation upon request by the food establishment once every four months. At that time, the licensed food worker percentage will be determined and the appropriate sign issued.

Q: Food establishments with fewer than ten employees are subject to wider fluctuations of percentage of licensed food workers.

A: Each food establishment will need to decide what level of food worker licensing they want to maintain and do the things necessary to maintain that level.

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