Restaurants And Other Employers With "Food Handlers" Required To Complete Food Handling Training No Later Than July 1, 2014

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The Illinois Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act (Act) provides that “food handlers” (both in restaurants and non-restaurants) must complete “food handling” training no later than July 1, 2014. After July 1, 2014, newly-hired “food handlers” must complete the training no later than thirty days after their start date.  The Act does not define “food handlers.”  However, the Illinois Department of Public Health (Department) has provided guidance on how businesses should interpret the term.  In a memorandum the Department of Public Health distributed to local health department administrators, who will be enforcing the Act, the Department defined “food handlers” as individuals “working with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces."  Because of this broad interpretation, cooks and servers, as well as possibly bartenders and other secondary food-handlers (clean-up staff, bussers, and/or other staff), would be required to complete the training.  Notably, different standards and training modules apply depending on whether an establishment is a restaurant or a non-restaurant under the Act.  However, the July 1 deadline applies to both types of establishments.

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