Food Manager Requirements

​​​​​Most licensed food establishments must have at least one manager or operator certified in food protection practices. Certification is required for most food establishments, but not all. ​The new food code allows for an exemption in the following situations: prepackaged retail food establishments (meal and non-meal), when handling only fresh fruits or produce; transient events; and micro markets. Operators of Transient Retail Food Establishments are exempt from this requirement. Only DATCP establishments that engage in retail food activities are required to have a certified food protection manager.

To meet regulatory requirements, required personnel must post the exam certificate, taken within the past 5 years, in public view and available for review by inspection staff. Small operators must post the course completion certificate. ​

The operator or manager of an establishment that is new or undergoing a change-of-operator must have a food manager with the appropriate credential within the first 90 days​ after opening. With the exception of small operators, all food managers are required to take and pass an approved exam every 5 years. Small operators that have 5 or fewer food handlers that have a food manager that has already taken the full certification exam and is renewing within 90 days after the ex​piration date of their initial certified food manager credential may use the Food Safety for Small Operators (Recerti​fication) course to meet the requirement. Any food manager whose credential is not renewed within 90 days after the expiration date is required take and pass an approved exam.​

See a listing of food manager certification exams accepted in Wisconsin by visiting the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) website.

The following courses are currently approved for the Food Safety Training for Small Operators credential:

DATCP values food safety training because it h​as been proven that workers who complete these courses provide safer food to the public. We are confident these changes will maintain high standards while simplifying the process of complying with regulatory requirements.