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Unlocking Safe Food Handling: Navigating Minnesota’s Certified Food Protection Manager Requirements

Unlocking Safe Food Handling: Navigating Minnesota’s Certified Food Protection Manager Requirements

In the vibrant and busy world of food service, ensuring public safety is paramount. Minnesota’s food safety regulations underscore this commitment by mandating Certified Food Protection Managers for establishments statewide. Whether you’re a seasoned trainer or a new provider, understanding these requirements is crucial for maintaining regulation compliance and keeping food safe.

Certified Food Protection Manager

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) oversees the Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) program, setting rigorous standards to uphold food safety.  Aspiring CFPMs must complete an accredited training course and pass an approved certification exam to earn the credential. This multifaceted process ensures that managers possess comprehensive knowledge of safe food handling, appropriate cleaning and sanitation, avoiding contamination, food allergens, and good hygiene practices.  The training is vital for preventing foodborne illnesses to the public.  Employers value CFPM credentials, viewing them as a mark of reliability and professionalism.

The value of offering a CFPM course

It’s important to note that CFPM is not just cooking food.  A CFPM is needed anywhere food is being served to the public.  Examples of establishments include, restaurants, food trucks, group homes, long-term care facilities, afterschool programs, childcare centers, hospitals, and food manufacturing operations.  A supervisor in many of the operations listed also need to have a CFPM credential to support training of staff.  All of the examples are potential employers for ABE students in Adult Career Pathways, and could be partners for an Integrated Education and Training (IET) program.

Accredited Exam Companies for CFPM Credential

A CFPM may be obtained from MDH by submitting proof of passing an exam from an organization accredited by the ANSI/ANAB-Accreditation Program.  ANSI is a national accreditation board that oversees the exam companies and their exam practices.  Some examples of the more prominent nationwide exams accepted by ANSI and MDH are:  Learn2Serve (360Training), National Registry of Food Safety Professionals, National Restaurant Association Solutions (ServSafe), and the Always Food Safe Company, LLC (based out of St. Paul, MN).  The exams offered by the companies have been approved by MDH to meet the requirements for the CPFM.   Successfully passing an exam will allow a participant to apply for a CFPM credential issued by MDH.

Other considerations

Please note, currently, there are ten nationwide exams that are acceptable for a state-issued CFPM credential.  The accredited exam companies all base the content in their instructional materials and exams on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code.  Here are some considerations for you to determine which exam to include in your ACP or IET:

  • Cost of exam – each company has different exam fee schedules that may change
  • Type of exam – exam companies may allow for paper-based or online, and others only offer online exams
  • Types of teaching materials – determine if the exam company provides slide decks, videos, or a textbook to use in a classroom setting – some companies only allow for paid online learning of content
  • Online access – if you plan to teach online, verify if the exam company allows you to use their materials in an online classroom
  • Marketing – each exam company may have different rules around the use of their branded exam and how it can be used with marketing and outreach
  • Food Hander – The Food Handler certificate is an online course and exam offered by the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe company. It does not meet the rigor or skills needed to earn a CFPM credential.

To find more information about the exam companies and their policies, please check the ANSI website.

Steps to obtain a CFPM Credential

The steps needed to earn a Certified Food Protection Manager credential are the following:

  1. Take an initial training course
  2. Pass an ANSI-approved exam
  3. Submit an initial application, proof of passing an approved exam, and $35 to the Minnesota Department of Health. The exam certificate must be submitted to MDH within 6 months of the exam date.
  4. Renew CFPM before the expiration date (3 years from initial application)

Learn more!

Certified Food Protection Managers form the backbone of Minnesota’s commitment to food safety and public health.  Learn more about the Certified Food Protection Manager credential and other credentials you may want to include in your Adult Career Pathways programming at the upcoming Adult Career Pathways Institute on April 19.

Heather Turngren, AE Teacher Minneapolis Adult Education