About Hawaii Food Safety Class

The Hawaii Department of Health has amended Chapter 50 of the Food Safety Code. New requirements include a new food education mandate effective Sept. 2. Get ready for your Hawaii food safety class!

The new requirements affect all food establishments in the state. The new food safety education requirement now mandates at least one employee on every work shift to be certified by a formal “Food Handlers Training”. Formalizing and requiring this training ensures a standard baseline of food safety knowledge for all establishment owners and managers. Classes are available online or in a live format.

New regulations were triggered, in part, following a series of recent foodborne illness outbreaks plaguing Hawaii. Among the most public occurrences include the 2016 Hepatitis A linked to Scallops served at Genki’s Sushi, in which 271 contracted the illness, November 2016 Salmonella Outbreak linked to Seaweed, in which 17 people sought medical treatment for, and the Rat Lungworm Increase , currently in the news.

Food Handler vs. Food Manager?

Up until now, Hawaii has not required any formal food safety training for operators of food establishments. With Hawaii’s history of food safety issues, the question needs to be asked: Is Food Handler Training enough? Hawaii requires food works to use an  ANSI accredited training program. This means that there is a certain minimal standard that this training program needs to meet.

The two levels of formal ANSI accredited food safety training for retail and food service operators include training for food handlers and training for managers. Food Handler Training standards provide a baseline knowledge for front line industry food handlers, including dishwashers, line cooks, etc, whereas, the Food Protection Manager Certification (CFPM), provides managers with the knowledge to go back and train their staff on protecting customers from food borne illness and safe food handling.

Is Food Handler Training Enough?

In turn, this training helps to protect customers as well as their business by teaching managers and owners how to reduce and manage risk. Food handlers learn food safety basics, good industry practices, and what illness symptoms they should be reporting to their managers. Alternatively, the CFPM training provides managers on what to do when food handlers have mishandled product, what do do when employees report illness to them, and how to control risk factors. In fact, these are two very good programs but each has their own target audience.

It cannot be said with certainty that the food borne illness outbreaks in Hawaii would have been prevented by a mandated Hawaii food safety class, but, at least one outbreak was found to be linked to suppliers.  The CFPM course heavily focuses on choosing and vetting reputable suppliers as a significant control measure. So again, IS FOOD HANDLER TRAINING ENOUGH? What do you think?


ATC Food Safety, in partnership with Aloha Food Safety, provides both Certified Food Manager Training and Food Handler Training. Public classes and private group trainings are available at multiple locations, even at your site. Training is led by instructors with hands on industry experience to draw from, therefore, providing credible and sound suggestions of practical food safety application.

For more information on training, check out our class calendar of events.