Food Safety Red Stamp Text On Squares On White BackgroundThere is a new mandate in town! Yes, we have a food safety mandate to get more food safety training in our industry. Let’s try to remember this is not new to the US and it’s not completely new to New Mexico. If you live in Albuquerque or the unincorporated area of Bernalillo county NOTHING changed for you. You already experienced many of the changes that are happening around the state right now. If you live/work/have a restaurant in any other part of the state the requirements are new for you. The most painful time to comply with this mandate will be this year when the requirement is new. The process is similar to Alcohol Server Certification without the added step of the state issuing the certificate.  It will be issued directly to the participant, and you may keep a copy of the certification in your office as proof of compliance.

One of the most frequent questions we get in our office is, “Where do I get my food handler license?” This question usually comes from someone moving from another state where the license has been required for a long time. The map shows those states and municipalities with food handler license requirements.Food Handler US

There are two new training requirements for the food safety mandate: the first is a FOOD PROTECTION MANAGER CERTIFICATION that at least one employee that has supervisory and management responsibility and the authority to direct and control food preparation and service shall be a certified food protection manager who has shown proficiency of required information through passing a test that is part of an accredited program. This we at NMRA call management certification. Note: only one person at your restaurant has to have this designation.
The ServSafe program helps prepare you for the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification exam. Training covers these concepts: The Importance of Food Safety, Good Personal Hygiene, Time and Temperature Control, Preventing Cross-Contamination, Cleaning and Sanitizing, Safe Food Preparation, Receiving and Storing Food, Methods of Thawing, Cooking, Cooling and Reheating Food, HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), Food Safety Regulations, and more . . . Attendees who successfully complete the course and pass the exam will receive a certification from NRA Solutions which is nationally recognized and valid for 5 years. The 8-hour course (including a lunch break) will utilize the ServSafe Manager Book and approved videos. Costs for the management course are as follows: $125 per person for NMRA members, $175 per person for non-members.

The second requirement simply put is an employee level requirement: every person who handles food must have a FOOD HANDLER LICENSE. This license can be obtained online or contact us to schedule a class near you. It takes 2 to 3 hours to complete and costs around $15.00 online (or around $10.00 with your NMRA Member coupon code) and $25 in class. The course is provided in English and Spanish and soon will be available in 4 other languages as well. Contact us for your members-only coupon code.
In this class one learns: Basic Food Safety, Personal Hygiene, Cross-contamination and Allergens, Time and Temperature, and Cleaning and Sanitation. You must complete these sections before the assessment is available. Students must achieve at least a 75% score to receive the ServSafe Food Handler Certificate of Achievement online. You make take the assessment as many times as necessary until you pass the assessment or the course expires. The food handler license is good for 3 years.
We at the New Mexico Restaurant Association believe that this training is important for the entire industry. More and more we see media reports of restaurants being shut down for violations and closed because of food borne illness. It is difficult to come back from such an incidence. As media becomes more accessible and reports are a permanent part of your online and social history it’s more important than ever that we take steps to protect our customers and our industry from food-borne illness. You are already teaching these concepts to your employees, it is nice that now they have to get the training before they are exposed to your customers.

Visit our Foodsafety Regulations Resource Page for details and links to regulations, FAQs, and sample inspection forms.