Florida state regulations require everyone working in food processing operations, including farmers' market food businesses, to be trained in food safety. Although Florida law does not require food safety training for cottage food producers, food safety training is a best business practice for cottage food businesses. The type of training required by law depends on the permitting agency. This guide will introduce the different types of food safety training by each food regulatory agency and will provide information on how to acquire food safety training.
Required Training Depends on the Regulatory Agency
Before pursuing food safety training for a farmers’ market food business, it is important to first identify the regulatory agency that will be issuing the food safety license to the establishment. Farmers’ market businesses are regulated by either the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) or the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS). Visit the Regulatory Agencies guide for help in identifying the appropriate agency.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
Every person in a DBPR-licensed food service establishment that handles food contact surfaces or receives, prepares, stores or serves food, must complete either the Certified Food Manager Training Program or the Food Service Employee Training Program
Every DBPR-licensed establishment must designate a ‘Certified Manager’ who is in charge of applying and sharing knowledge that pertains to the safe and sanitary operation of the food-service. The chosen manager must pass the Food Service Manager Certification test within 30 days after employment, and the certification is valid for five years. Every employee in a DBPR-licensed establishment that handles food or food contact surfaces must receive Food Service Employee Training within 60 days of employment, and the certification is valid for three years. The food establishment must maintain records of employee food safety certifications as well as a current list of certified food managers to be available upon request by an inspector
The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS)
FDACS-licensed food establishments that sell, store, or hold only pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods or wholesale food establishments that are regulated under the Code of Federal Regulations do not need a CFPM. If the CFPM leaves the establishment, the new manager must successfully pass the certification examination within 90 days in order for the establishment to remain in compliance. The CFPM certification is valid for five years, and it should be posted in a clearly visible place.
Many FDACS-licensed food establishments (including mobile vendors) which process, pack, hold or prepare potentially hazardous foods at retail must have a designated Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) who is responsible for the control or supervision over employees who engage in the processing, preparation and service of foods in the food establishment.
For more information, visit the following resources on the FDACS website:
Food Safety Training Providers
Both FDACS and DPBR contract third-party training agencies to conduct food safety training and certification available both online as well as in face-to-face classes. Prior to paying for training or certification, it is important to verify that the third-party agency is approved by the regulatory agency licensing the food establishment.
Food Safety Training Providers
Food safety training provides a foundation for developing best business practices to ensure the quality, health, and safety of the food products sold in Florida farmers’ markets. Food safety training can also help protect a farmers’ market business from financial and legal problems related to the sale of contaminated food. Food safety training instills consumer confidence in the food product, and this is why many farmers’ market vendors choose to display their certifications on websites, marketing materials, and in the market booth. Information from food safety training can also help food business owners develop business plans and operating policies and procedures that include documented sanitation and cross-contamination prevention procedures that are required during the inspection process for state licensing. For more information about topics and issues related to food safety training, visit the Cleaning, Regulatory Agencies, and Business Plans guides on this website.
References & Resources
*This guide is not intended to serve as a substitute for legal advice. For all individual questions and concerns please consult a licensed attorney and contact the relevant agencies concerning your specific legal and regulatory requirements.
This page was authored by Sarah Cervone with content contributed by Soo Anh and Tyler Nesbit, edited by Thomas Maple & Andi Emrich, and reviewed by Soo Ahn.
Published July 2019.
Reproducible for non-commercial use only courtesy of Florida Organic Growers, Florida Farmer's Market Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture.