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             Common Questions and Answers about
             Food Protection Manager Certification

Has food manager certification (training and testing) been proven effective?
"[It was observed that food manager certification caused] statistically significant improvements in total inspection scores. Certification has also reduced the number of violations of critical, procedural or procedural/structural nature..." Measuring the effectiveness of a state program, Illinois State University, Journal of Environmental Health 1990
"[The inspection scores for food service facilities] showed significant improvement after certification compared to predictions based on pre-certification trends." Issues regarding evaluating food service manager certification programs, Western Carolina University, Proceedings of the North American Food Safety Education Workshop 1997
"Food manager education increases the likelihood of the implementation of critical [food safety] controls, such as time/temperature checks..." Implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Plan, St. Joseph's University 1998
"There seems to be a positive correlation between food safety training and proper food handling procedures." Food Safety Certification and Its Impacts, Journal of Environmental Health, 1999.
Why is mandatory education for food service managers necessary when inspections are conducted by local or state health departments?
"Inspections alone cannot guarantee prevention of foodborne outbreaks. Supervision and education of food service workers and consistent adherence by food service workers to good hygienic practices are critical and perhaps neglected elements in the control and prevention of food borne disease. The responsibility of all persons involved in food preparation particularly food service managers, needs to be emphasized." Failure of Routine Restaurant Inspections, Journal of Environmental Health 1994
Why is training essential to food manager certification programs?
Training is necessary to prepare most candidates to pass the exam. The National Assessment Institute reports a nearly 70% first-time failure rate among candidates who do not take some form of recognized training.
Recognized training is also an opportunity for food service managers to get in-depth information and ask questions, to find out the "whys'" and the "hows" of proper food safety and sanitation.
For example, knowing how to calibrate a thermometer is of little value and won't be done consistently if the food service manager doesn't know why it is critical to take the temperatures of food - which requires explanation of how and under what conditions bacteria multiplies, time-temperature relationships and more.
It has been demonstrated that behavioral changes occur only after training, and not after testing alone. And behavioral changes result in fewer critical violations, which mean less risk of foodborne outbreaks - which is everyone's goal!
What is the extent of foodborne illness?
"Foodborne illness is a major cause of personal distress, preventable death and an avoidable economic burden...9,000 needless deaths every year (US)...the annual cost of foodborne illness in terms of pain and suffering, reduced productivity and medical costs is estimated to be between $ 10 and $ 83 million." FDA Food Code Preface 1997
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have consistently stated...most of the time, the [food] mishandled occurred within the retail segment of the food service industry [restaurants, markets, schools, churches, camps, institutions and vending locations] where ready-to-eat food is prepared and provided to the public for consumption." FDA Food Code Preface 1997
"In his assessment of the status of foodborne disease problems, Gillespie (1980) suggested that convincing evidence shows that food protection programs need to be upgraded because programs have not kept up with the food industry's extensive changes over the past 50 years. Illness from food-related disease outnumbers illnesses from all other environmental factors combined. Even though the United States may have the world's safest food supply, Snyder (1992) estimated that 25,000,000 foodborne cases and 16,000 deaths occur each year. Snyder has estimated that the annual cost of foodborne illness and death in the United States averages $ 3,000 per individual or approximately $ 676,377,000 per year." Principles of Food Sanitation, Chapman & Hall New York 1996.
Are the costs of training (and corresponding improved sanitation) a burden to the food service industry?
"The study consisted of baseline training and post-training periods to monitor reprocessing and cleaning expenses...Benefits of improved sanitation management were evident...the average daily savings of $ 14.29 (annual savings of $ 5,215.85) to a [grocery store] department when labor is included. A 5.3 % decrease in reprocessing loss was calculated." Sanitation doesn't cost, it pays, Journal of Environmental Health 1988
What does the US Department of Health and Human Services (Public Health Service/FDA) recommend with regard to mandatory food protection manager training?
"shall ensure that a person in charge is present at all times at the food establishment during all hours of operation." FDA Food Code Section 2-101.11
"Based on the risks inherent to the food operation...the person in charge [food service manager] shall demonstrate to the regulatory authority, knowledge of foodborne disease being a certified food protection manager who has shown proficiency of required information accredited program. FDA Food Code Section 2-102
Which jurisdictions currently mandate food protection manager training/certification?
According to Prometric, the major jurisdictions that mandate food protection manager certification include:
State programs:
California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky*, Louisiana, Maryland*, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio (voluntary with benefits for CFPM), Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas*, Utah, Virginia*, Wisconsin
* local option, some areas exempt

Major County/City programs: Baltimore, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Maricopa (Phoenix), New York City, Oklahoma City; Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, St. Louis (5 county region)

American Food Safety, 2734 North 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19133
Phone: 800-723-3873 Fax: 215-634-6184

Copyright , 1999 AFSI/Health Regulation Compliance, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document has been compiled by the American Food Safety Institute from sources believed to be reliable. The American Food Safety Institute assumes no liabilities whatsoever for errors or omissions. For information on food safety training courses nationwide, please call 800-723-3873. Copies of the FDA Food Code are available from the National Technical Information Service at 800-553-6847 or The Journal of Environmental Health is a publication of the National Environmental Health Association.