Food Workers

Certified Food Protection Manager Requirements Beginning March 1, 2023

New Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) requirements will become effective March 1, 2023. According to Washington State Retail Food Code (WAC 246-215), food service establishments must have a certified food protection manager.

“CERTIFIED FOOD PROTECTION MANAGER” means an employee with the authority to implement food protection measures and who meets the certification requirements listed by a Conference for Food Protection-recognized accrediting agency as conforming to the Conference for Food Protection Standards for Accreditation of Food Protection Manager Certification Programs.

This certification can be obtained by contacting one of the ANSI accredited organizations
organizations listed at food protection manager certifications (online) or in person through Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's Certified Food Management Course (in-person). 

Establishments Exempt From Certified Food Protection Manager Requirement

Food establishments with a low risk of foodborne illness due to limited food handling, low volume of food handled, and population served are encouraged, but not required, to have a Certified Food Protection Manager.

Establishments considered low risk and exempt from the CFPM requirement include the following operations:

  • Serve or sell only pre-packaged foods, including cold holding TCS foods such as gallons of milk
  • Prepare non-TCS foods, such as making cinnamon rolls, candy, doughnuts, pretzels, or blended syrup drinks
  • Heat only commercially-processed, ready-to-eat foods, including lattes and hot holding TCS foods such as hot dogs
  • Serve food on an infrequent, temporary basis at short-term events, such as fairs and festivals

These establishments traditionally include convenience stores, movie theaters, hot dog carts, coffee kiosks, cinnamon roll and pretzel stands, ice cream shops, and temporary food booths.

All other establishments must have at least one employee with a valid, nationally accredited CFPM certificate. These establishments prepare raw animal products, wash raw produce, cool time/temperature control for safety (TCS) foods, use specialized processes, operate a facility that serves a highly susceptible population, or have other increased potential risk of foodborne illness.

Food Worker Cards

Washington State Food Worker Cards are required of any person serving and/or selling food to the public.


You must complete the Washington State Food Worker Course and pass an exam to receive a valid card, even when you are renewing your old one. Food workers may complete the course online or in a class offered by Jefferson County Public Health. If cards are renewed up to 60 days prior to the expiration date, an extra year is granted!

Follow the link below to learn more about taking the course either online or at one of our local instructor led classes.

Please note:  A signature is required for card validation - be sure to sign your card!


The fee is $10; payable by check or exact change.

Studying Before Taking the Course

Food and Beverage Workers' Manual (PDF).

Length of Validity

Can I start work before I get my card?
Yes, you can work for up to 14 days before you get your card – if you get food safety training from your employer. New cards are good for 2 years.

Renewal cards are good for 3 years if you take the class before the expiration date of your current card.

Cards renewed after the expiration date are valid for 2 years.

What if I lose my card before it expires?

You can stop by Jefferson County Public Health and get a duplicate for $10.

Other Resources

View a storyboard poster (PDF) courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Protect People Everywhere: Wash Your Hands, Use Gloves or Utensils, and Never Work When You Are Sick.

Follow these links to learn more about Washington State Regulations: