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Is your establishment up to date with current food safety training requirements? Take time now to ensure you and your staff meet mandatory training requirements for your state. Proper training is a major factor in foodborne illness prevention. Having current, documented training also facilitates smoother compliance inspections and prevents additional follow-up and potential re-inspection fees.

There are three training requirements for regulatory food safety inspections in Illinois retail food establishments. These are:

  • Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM)
  • Food Handler (basic food safety)
  • Allergen Awareness Training

Have enough CFPMs to cover all shifts. Illinois law requires at least one Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) to be on the premises during all operating hours for all medium and high-risk retail foodservice operations. “No CFPM on site” is a commonly cited violation. The presence of a CFPM has been proven to improve inspection report results and helps facilitate active control of food safety risks.(1) It is strongly recommended that establishments have at least two supervisory staff members with current a CFPM certificate to cover all shifts. The CFPM course is eight hours in length and requires a proctored certification exam from an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved program. Certification is valid for five years and must be renewed by taking the course and the exam again. Keep a copy of the CFPM certificate for each CFPM on site as these are verified at every inspection. Certification may only be recorded if one of the CFPMs with a current certificate is present at the time of the inspection. Check with your local health department on the criteria for categorizing risk level in operations and if CFPM is required. Generally, if you serve hot food or prepare any foods requiring temperature control, you will need a CFPM.

Ensure food handler certificates are current. All employees who handle food and food contact surfaces are required to have a food handler certificate from an ANSI approved program in Illinois. This includes staff who serve, bus, wash dishes or do any food preparation and are not temporary employees. Certificates are valid for three years and must be obtained within the first 30 days of employment. Current, valid certificates must be available on site for all inspections. Corporate sponsored programs must have a letter indicating approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health as meeting Illinois’ requirements for food handler training.

Allergen Awareness Training is required for some restaurant types in Illinois. Certified food protection managers in certain high-risk operations are required to obtain an ANSI approved Allergen Awareness Training certificate. This is in addition to the CFPM certification and is valid for three years, covering more in-depth topics relating to preventing and managing allergen-related incidents in retail operations. Check with your local health department to determine if your establishment must have allergen awareness-trained personnel.

Document all training. As employees earn their training certificates, keep copies in a folder or binder, along with documentation of IDPH approval (corporate food handler programs) that is easily accessible by the person in charge of the establishment during the inspection. If the required training is not completed, certificates are not accessible, or certificates are not current, up to four violations could be marked for the establishment. Inspection reports reflect the performance of the establishment as it pertains to food safety compliance and are available as public record. Verifying your training records are current and available monthly can prevent unnecessary violations and helps ensure all employees receive proper food safety training.

  1. Cates, S.C., Muth, M.K., Karns, S.A., Penne, M.A., Stone, C.N., Harrison, J.E., and Radke, V.J. (2008). Certified Kitchen Managers: Do They Improve Restaurant Inspection Outcomes? Journal of Food Protection, (72)2, 384-391.


Foodservice Safe provides all the required ANSI approved food safety training for food establishments delivered in convenient formats including in-person, online and hybrid (training online-test in person). The Foodservice Safe database will facilitate reminders when training is due to expire, so it may be renewed prior to expiration.  Please visit Foodservice Safe at www.foodservicesafe,com for more information.


Colleen Nyland currently teaches the Certified Food Manager Protection program as well as develops HACCP and food safety management training plans for Foodservice Safe.