What Does ServSafe Certified Mean?

What Does ServSafe Certified Mean?

Have you heard of ServSafe certification in the foodservice industry? Well you should, because not only is it a great metric for the safety of your service, but it is also an accredited certification for businesses that meet the greatest standards in the industry.

If you are looking for ways to improve your restaurant’s credibility and attract more customers, becoming ServSafe certified is an excellent step in the right direction!

This article will explore what goes into ServSafe certification. We will also cover what benefits it can bring to your business.

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, or if your company would like you to get certified and you’re not sure why, keep reading and discover the power of ServSafe food safety certification.

What Is ServSafe Certification? Where Did It Come From?

ServSafe certification is a coveted credential in the foodservice industry. It is awarded to establishments that meet the highest safety and sanitation standards determined by the National Restaurant Association.

The NRA created the program in 1998. It has since become the leading food safety certification in the United States.

ServSafe certification is an important credential that shows customers your commitment to safety. It dedicates your business to sanitary food practices.

All employees must complete a food safety training course and pass a proctored exam to become certified. The NRA administers the certification program and oversees its standards.

Why Food Safety Is Critically Important

There are several reasons why food safety is so important. First and foremost, it is a matter of public health.

According to the CDC, there are approximately 48 million foodborne illness cases in the United States each year. Of these, about 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die.

These statistics underscore the importance of proper food safety practices. Food safety is a means for preventing illness and protecting customers’ health. In addition to the public health implications, food safety is also essential from a business perspective.

In today’s litigious society, one lawsuit can ruin a business. If someone gets sick from eating at your restaurant, you could be facing costly legal fees and damages. Even if you ultimately win the case, the negative publicity could be enough to drive your customers away.

The best way to protect yourself from lawsuits is to have a strong food safety program in place.

By becoming ServSafe certified, you can ensure that your restaurant meets the highest standards for food safety and sanitation. This will help keep your customers safe and reduce the risk of costly legal battles.

What Does ServSafe Certification Mean for My Business?

Many benefits come with being ServSafe certified. For one, it instills confidence in your customers that they are eating in a safe and clean environment. It also sets your business apart from the competition, as not all restaurants are ServSafe certified.

Additionally, ServSafe certification can help you streamline your food safety procedures. It will help you save money on insurance premiums.

And last but not least, ServSafe certified employees tend to be more engaged and have a better understanding of food safety practices. This can lead to a reduction in mistakes and accidents in the kitchen.

Some of the other benefits are:

  • improved credibility among customers

  • reduced risk of fines or closure due to health violations

  • access to educational resources and training discounts

This list is not exhaustive by any means.

Food Handler Certification

When it comes to ServSafe certification, there are five types. Let’s start with the food handler certification.

This certification is for employees who handle food but do not have supervisory duties. The course covers personal hygiene, cross-contamination, and safe food handling practices.

After completing the course and passing the exam, Food Handlers receive a ServSafe Food Handler Certificate. It is valid for three years.

Manager Certification

The Manager Certification is for individuals responsible for overseeing food safety. This is a great opportunity for managers of restaurant chains or even single-location enterprises.

The course covers HACCP principles, pest control, and employee training. Managers must also pass a proctored exam to receive their certificate. The Manager Certification is valid for five years.

Retailer Certification

The Retailer Certification is explicitly designed for store owners and managers who sell food products to the public. It’s pretty comprehensive for businesses in the retail segment.

The course covers topics such as product handling, storage, and labeling. Retailers must also pass a proctored exam to receive their certificate. The Retailer Certification is valid for five years.

PIC Certification

The PIC (Probe IT Food Safety Certification) is for individuals responsible for ensuring that food safety procedures are followed in their establishment. This is not applicable to most businesses.

The course covers HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), safe food preparation, and pest control. PICs must also pass a proctored exam to receive their certificate. The PIC Certification is valid for five years.

Instructor Certification

The Instructor Certification is for individuals who want to teach ServSafe courses locally. To become an Instructor, you must be a certified ServSafe Manager or Retailer.

You must have at least two years of foodservice experience. The Instructor Certification is valid for five years.

ServSafe certification is essential for any business that serves food, no matter whether it’s a restaurant, catering company, or school cafeteria.

By becoming certified, you can ensure that your employees follow the highest standards of food safety practices. You protect your customers from harm.

How Do I Get a ServSafe Food Safety Certification?

To become certified, all employees must complete a food safety training course and pass an exam. The NRA administers the certification program and oversees its standards.

One can complete the ServSafe certification process in two ways: online or in person. Online courses are available through the ServSafe website and typically take about six hours to complete. In-person classes are offered at locations nationwide and last for approximately eight hours.

After completing a course, employees must take a proctored exam. Exams are administered by Pearson Vue and can be taken at more than 4,000 testing centers across the United States. Moreover, employees can take the exam in English or Spanish. While the test is not unduly hard, it is beneficial to practice in advance so expectations are clear for test day.

Once an employee passes the exam, they will receive a ServSafe Food Handler certificate valid for three years. They will finally be ServSafe certified. To maintain certification, employees must retake the course and exam every three years.

ServSafe Certification Costs

The cost of ServSafe certification varies depending on which option you choose. Online courses cost $75, and in-person courses cost $99. Exams cost an additional $69. However, businesses that are members of the National Restaurant Association receive a discount on exam fees.

Furthermore, there are several scholarships available to help offset the cost of ServSafe certification. The NRA Foundation offers several scholarships that cover the cost of online and in-person courses, as well as exams.

If you are looking for ways to improve your restaurant’s credibility and attract more customers, becoming ServSafe certified is an excellent step in the right direction!

Are There Any Alternatives for ServSafe Certification?

In addition to ServSafe, a few other food safety certification programs are available.

The most popular alternative is by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is called the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). HACCP is recognized by the USDA and is typically required for businesses that want to sell their products wholesale.

Another option is the Certified Professional in Food Safety (CPFS) program. It is offered by the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). This program is designed for individuals who work in all aspects of the food industry, not just management positions.

Moreover, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) also offers a food safety certification program. This program is similar to ServSafe in that it covers all aspects of food safety. It goes from handling and preparation to storage and transportation.

While each of these programs has its benefits, ServSafe is the most widely recognized. It is the globally accepted food service certification. If you want to get your business certified, ServSafe is the way to go!

If you are looking for an alternate certification program, be sure to research each option thoroughly to make sure it meets your needs.

ServSafe Done Right

Overall, getting ServSafe certified is a great way to improve your restaurant’s credibility. It will help attract more customers.

The process is relatively simple. Many scholarships are available to help offset the cost.

Although other safety certification programs are available, ServSafe is the most widely recognized in the foodservice industry.

Still have questions about ServSafe certification or the testing process? Get in touch now, we’re happy to help!

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