Food Safety and Recreational Licensing - Food Manager Certification

Food Safety and Recreational Licensing Food Manager Certification: To ensure a safe food supply, Food Safety and Recreational Licensing requires that managers of food service operations become certified in food safety by passing one of four approved exams that test basic knowledge of food protection practices. Safeguarding patron health is a primary concern of food operations. Food manager certification is the first level of assurance that operations have a basic understanding of food safety laws and principles.

Most licensed food establishments must have at least one manager or operator certified in food protection practices. Certification is required for most Department of Health Services food establishments, but not all. Simple food establishments that serve only single service, individual, already pre-wrapped foods from a licensed food distributor or serve/sell only non-potentially hazardous foods are exempt from the certification requirement. Operators of Temporary Restaurants are exempt from this requirement. Only DATCP establishments that engage in restaurant activities are required to have a certified food manager.

The operator or manager of an establishment that is new or undergoing a change-of-operator shall have a certified food manager within 6 months after the business opens. Within the first 90 days, the operator or manager must be registered to take and pass an approved food manager certification exam.  Wisconsin accepts the following food manager certification exams: ServSafe, Prometric, Food Safety Professionals, and 360Training/Learn2Serve.

State certification involves two steps:

  1. Taking and passing an approved exam (exams must be taken in a proctored setting)
  2. Applying for state certification by submitting all of the following:
  • A copy of an official certificate from the testing organization indicating passage of the examination. This must be submitted to us within three years of the exam date, or a new exam will be required.
  • $10 fee, paid with a check or money order made out to the Department of Health Services
  • A completed State of Wisconsin Food Manager Certification application (PDF, 102 KB)

Food Manager Certification Law Changes (PDF, 196 KB)

Food Manager Certification Course Directory (PDF,  59 KB)

Food Manager Certification-Licensing Page

For additional information, contact us by email or call 608-266-2835.

Last Revised: May 12, 2015