Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Food Service Employee Training and Reporting FAQ
All information on this page is current and was last reviewed by the division on March 28, 2012.
1. Q: Is food service employee training different than food manager certification?
A: Yes. All managers must obtain food manager certification by passing a written exam. All other food workers must complete food service employee training, which does not require a written exam. Certified food managers do not have to complete food service employee training.
2. Q: Who has to complete food service employee training?
A: All employees responsible for food storage, preparation, display, or service must complete food service employee training. Certified food managers do not have to complete food service employee training.
3. Q: Is a specific program required for training food service employees?
A: Yes. You must use a state-approved employee training program. You should check our list of state-approved food service employee training programs before completing any training program.
4. Q: What does a food service employee training program teach?
A: Approved food service employee training programs teach professional hygiene, causes of foodborne illness, and how to identify potentially hazardous foods, prevent cross contamination, and control or eliminate harmful bacteria in a restaurant.
5. Q: Can employees complete food service employee training on the Internet or through other types of distance learning?
A: Yes. Employees can complete a state-approved food service employee training provided through the internet or other types of distance learning.
6. Q: How long do employees have to complete food service employee training?
A: Employees must complete food service employee training within 60 days of the date they start work. Other operational items may require more immediate training, such as touching ready-to-eat foods with bare hands under an approved Alternative Operating Procedure. More information on bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods and alternative operating procedures is available on our website.
7. Q: Does food service employee training ever expire?
A: Yes. Food service employee training is valid for three years. An employee must complete the training every three years before his or her training expires.
8. Q: Is proof of food service employee training required?
A: Yes. The food service establishment must provide proof upon request from the division that employees have completed a state-approved food service employee training program.
9. Q: Do employees have to complete any other training, in addition to the food service employee training?
A: Yes. All employees must also receive duty-specific training. For example, employees who prepare food must know safe methods for thawing, cooking, cooling, storage, etc., and employees responsible for cleaning equipment and utensils must know proper cleaning and sanitizing methods.
10. Q: Are employees required to use specific training materials or programs for duty-specific training?
A: No. The division does not require specific training materials or programs for duty-specific training. However, employees must demonstrate knowledge of the proper skills by correctly performing their assigned duties and answering relevant questions.
11. Q: What is the reporting requirement for food service employee training?
A: All food service employee training performed using a DBPR approved third party provider program or any training service which uses a DBPR approved third party provider program must report the training to DBPR.
Chapter 509.049(7)(b), Florida Statutes, requires third party providers to maintain and electronically submit information concerning establishments where they provide training or training programs.
12. Q: Is there a reporting exemption?
A: Any food service establishment using its own in-house proprietary, DBPR approved program and which uses its own certified food manager(s) to provide the training is exempt from reporting requirements.
Section 509.039(6)(b), Florida Statutes, states that a public food service establishment that trains its employees using its own in-house, proprietary food safety training program approved by the division, and which utilizes its own employees to provide the training, shall be exempt from the electronic reporting requirements of this paragraph, and from the card or certificate requirement of paragraph section 509.039(6)(a), Florida Statutes.
13. Q: When must training be reported?
A: The data must be sent electronically to DBPR, using the provided data upload site, within 30 days of the training.
14. Q: How must training be reported?
A: Data files are submitted through the DBPR web application located at www.bpr.state.fl.us/apps/fstc/default.asp. Data files must be submitted in a very specific format. Instructions for submission and formatting may be found at www.bpr.state.fl.us/apps/fstc/filespecs.html.
15. Q: What common errors may occur when preparing the data file?
A: Using Microsoft Word®files saved as text will not work, mainly because different editions of Word® use different computer-recognizable quotation marks. These may appear the same when viewed on screen, but are recognized as a different character by computers. Please ensure you use Notepad®to create the data file or, if using another program, take care to export it as a comma-delimited file.
Another common error is to include an empty space between data elements. This is probably due to the natural space behind a comma. To ensure successful uploads, no spaces should be included unless an actual space exists in the name of the program used or the name of the trainee.
Also common is omitting double-quotes at the end of a data element, causing the record to fail. Example: incorrectly submitting “Segal”,“Stephen,10/1/1957” rather than the correct “Segal”,“Stephen”,“10/1/1957”. In this case, the system sees Stephen,10/1/1957 as the trainee’s name and does not recognize the date of birth. This mistake will result in a failure notice showing the first name entered as “Stephen,10/1/1957”.
16. Q: What license number should be used when submitting files?
A: The data file requires two license numbers. The DBPR issued provider ID number is inserted on the first line ensuring the system recognizes the source of the information contained in that file.
Each line of data begins with the license number of the employing establishment, which must be the license number of the establishment employing the trainee. Every food service establishment has its own license number, separate from any license number of a hotel or other licensee to which it may be attached or co-located. Please ensure the correct food service license number is used when submitting files.
17. Q: How can the license number of a particular restaurant be found?
A: Each food service establishment should be able to provide their license number, which appears on the license that is required to be posted in the establishment. Also, license numbers may be viewed on the DBPR website at: www.MyFloridaLicense.com.
18. Q: What if the restaurant has an expired license?
A: Data submitted from establishments with expired licenses will not be accepted.
19. Q: What if the restaurant is in a “plan approved” status?
A: Data submitted from establishments with a license in “plan approved” status will fail. If a failure notice is received, please contact the Division of Hotels and Restaurants using the Request for Assistance form provided on this site.
20. Q: How do providers get a username and password to use the system?
A: Usernames and passwords were previously mailed to approved training program providers. To obtain a replacement, submit a request using the Request for Assistance form provided on this site.
21. Q: How do I contact DBPR for more help?
A: If you require further assistance, please use the Request for Assistance form provided on this site.