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About the statewide Food Handler Certification mandate:
In October 2015, the Texas Department of State Health Services approved a regulation requiring statewide food handler certification as part of the new Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER).
The statewide food handler mandate was effective September 1, 2016, which means all current restaurant employees required to be certified must have their food handler permit by that date. All employees that work with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces such as kitchen staff, bussers, hostesses, servers, bartenders, barbacks etc., need to be food handler certified. Individuals hired after September 1, 2016, have 60 days from the date of hire to get their certificate.
Texas food handler training and certification is valid for two years, and food facility operators are required to maintain a record of a current certification for each employee. Local health departments will enforce the mandate during the inspection process.