What You Need to Know About the New Texas Food Establishment Rules

DATE: 7th April, 2016

Wait staff, bartenders, hostesses and restaurant owners alike within the Lone Star State will have to pay attention to new rules that have been signed into place–as recently as October 11, 2015–that require you to have your food handler certificate.

To get past the legalese of the new Texas Food Establishment Rules, we’ve put together this handy guide for how to know whether or not you need to get certified.

Who this ruling will apply to

According to the American Restaurant Association, this ruling mandates that anyone handling, "unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces", must enroll in food handler courses and get their certification within 60 days of employment.

The deadline for having your certificate is set at September 1, 2016 and will apply to all restaurant employees–more specifically–cooks, kitchen staff, bussers, servers, bartenders, dishwashers, general wait staff and more.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), food service establishments are classified as follows:

  1. "Retail Food Establishments
  2. Food Stores
  3. Mobile Food Units
  4. Roadside Food Vendors
  5. School Food Establishments
  6. Temporary Retail Food Establishments"

How this new rule differs from previous rules

According to the TDSHS, new requirements were added for Food Managers that, “requires a CFM on site for each licensed establishment”, plus, stipulations regarding the placement of the certifications for both managers and food service staff alike, including:

  1. Food protection manager certificates need to now be posted in a place where the customer would be able to see it on site.
  2. Food handler certificates need to be accessible at the restaurant location at all times.

What you will need to do

All employees as defined above will be required to get their food handler certification by a Texas Department of Health-approved or ANSI-approved vendor. Food service courses run at $10 dollars per course, and are required to deliver same-day.

If you are already certified, and your certification does not expire before September 1, 2016, you do not need to get re-certified.

Additional need-to-know info, such as Laws and Rules, can be found at the Texas Department of State Health Services website.