Food Handler Certification in the State of Illinois or City of Chicago


Food handler certification has been required in Illinois since 2016. Any staff  that serves or handles food or food utensils

in food operations  must become a certified within 30 days of being hired

  • the training course takes 2  hours
  • the certificate  is valid for 3 years
  • the training can be completed  on-line at
  • can be scheduled at your facility for a larger group.

What does a Certified Food Handlers learn in the course ?

The three most important concepts that are taught in food safety are:
 I.  Using approved sources of food and utensils;
II.  Preventing cross-contamination of foods – from people, places and food:

     Cross contamination means that  something dangerous was transferred, usually by mistake, into food.  Illness or injury can occur when
food or utensils that will touch the mouth have been contaminated by  come into contact with hazards that are often in :

  1. Raw foods
  2. Human hair, skin or saliva
  3. Human and animal fecal wastes
  4. Air
  5. Absorbent or worn materials
  6. Waste water
  7. Pests & animals
  8. Surfaces that are moist or dirty
  9. Cleaning chemicals
  10. Non-food fragments, such as bone, shell, staples, fingernails, etc…


III. Controlling the time and temperatures of perishable foods also known as  TCS (time-temperature controlled for safety) foods

Temperature Controls for Food Safety are needed for foods that can grow bacteria and other microorganisms:

Washed and processed produce, juices, salads, etc.

Harvested foods from animals such as meats, fish, poultry, eggs, and  dairy foods


Many foods have the calories, mild acidity, and moisture levels to grow bacteria, and we usually know that these foods must be refrigerated after preparation or removing them from shelf-stable packaging to keep them from spoiling.  Even foods that can’t grow bacteria may still be able to grow molds (or even insects!)


Just as important as keeping food storage at safe temperatures, it is important to make sure temperatures are safe as long as food is under our control, during thawing, preparing, cooking, serving, and restorage.