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What Does SB476 Mean for Your Business?


Food safety is a critical topic for all businesses that serve customers in the restaurant industry. Customers should know that they are going to be safe when eating in a given establishment, and they shouldn’t feel like their health is at risk simply by having a meal.

Toward that end, food safety training has always been an important part of the restaurant industry, although the process by which workers get trained hasn’t been properly formalized and traditionally put too much of the burden on the worker rather than the business.

With Senate Bill 476 passing in California and going into effect on January 1st, 2024, that story has changed significantly. Now, it will be the employer that is expected to manage the costs that come with acquiring food handler cards, so it will be the business that needs to make sure everyone on the staff has their card shortly after being hired. This switch should make things more equitable for food service workers and it should also lead to better conditions for customers, as more employees will wind up going through food safety training.

A Shift in Responsibility

Up until this point, a worker who got a new job in food service would have to take the time and spend the money to acquire a food handler card as part of their employment. In fact, some potential workers would even pursue a card before they had a job, just as a way to demonstrate their commitment to the work and make themselves as attractive to employers as possible.

Once SB476 goes into effect at the start of 2024, that process will be reversed. First, employers will not be able to consider it a condition of employment for applicants to already hold a card, so there won’t be any reason for workers to take that step in advance. Then, once they are hired, they need to obtain a card within 30 days and the employer must pay for the training. That means not only does the business have to foot the bill for the course that will result in a food handler card, but any time spent on training and examination has to be considered compensable hours worked.

Businesses Need a Trusted Partner

There is no way around it – when SB476 becomes active, businesses in the food service industry are going to need a reliable solution to get their workers trained quickly and effectively. Some of the features that businesses will want to look for in a training partner include the following –

  • Fair pricing. The cap for the price of a training course and exam under this new legislation is set at $15. So, any reliable provider that a restaurant may want to use will need to offer pricing that complies with this restriction.
  • Meeting the legal expectations. Of course, any Food Handler Card course must be accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board to be approved by the requirements in SB476 and supply a valid food handler card upon completion.
  • Group training and corporate solutions. For larger corporations in the restaurant industry, it will be necessary to provide training at scale for hundreds or thousands of employees. Using a partner that can scale up easily to serve the needs of such a large business is another important factor.
  • Non-compliance with this new law isn’t really an option for a serious business. There are legal consequences that can be imposed if the company isn’t in compliance with the new law, and more than that, the safety of the customers who dine at the restaurant could be put in danger if employees don’t have the training they need to handle food properly. In the end, the additional costs incurred by businesses as a result of this legislation are minimal, and both workers and customers stand to gain from the change.

    Start with Responsible Training Today

    While it can seem a little daunting to comply with any new law or regulation, the good news regarding SB476 is that you have already landed in the right place. We offer an ANSI National Accreditation Board accredited California Food Handler course in multiple languages. By working with Responsible Training, you can easily provide your teams with the training they need to be compliant in a timely manner. Whether for small businesses or large corporations, we have the tools necessary to serve your needs effectively. Reach out today to get more information on how we can help your business navigate the new law without any trouble!