Food Handler

Certain kinds of food service workers in the state of Utah are required to have a food handlers permit in order to work. A permit indicates that a worker has undergone approved training in key aspects of handling food safely. We offer training for the food handlers permit online, as one of only a small number of organizations approved by the state to do so.

In light of this, there is quite a bit of terminology that perspective food handlers should know and understand in order to make the most of their training. Below is a partial list of some of the more common terms along with their definitions. The definitions come from section R392-103-3 of the Utah Administrative Code.

Food Handler

A good place to start is the definition of a food handler. Utah rules define a food handle as a “person who works with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces for a food establishment or food truck as defined [elsewhere in the rules].”

This definition more or less stipulates that restaurant, bar, and food truck workers who handle food, utensils or preparation services must be trained and certified. The rules also state that new food service workers are required to obtain their permits within 30 days of the first day of employment.


The certificate issued following the completion of training is not the same as the food handlers permit itself. The certificate is the “documentation of food handler training completion indicating passing of a Department approved exam.” Food handlers receive their certificates immediately upon completion of training. Their permits are issued by the local health department shortly thereafter.

Cross Contact

The term ‘cross contact’ refers to how allergens may be transferred from one food to the next by way of contact with surfaces. Cross contact is unintentional more often than not, but training is required to minimize the opportunities food service workers have to unknowingly transfer allergens.

Cross Contamination

Cross contamination is similar to cross contact except it deals with microorganisms rather than allergens. Also unintentional for the most part, cross contamination occurs when microorganisms are transferred from utensils, equipment, or food preparation surfaces to food via direct contact.

Double Handwash

During training for a food handlers permit, trainees learn about handwashing. The state defines a double handwash as washing hands “immediately after using the toilet room or changing a diaper and then washing the hands again after entering the food preparation or food service area, but before handling food.” Double handwashing is essential to maintaining food safety and hygiene.

Person in Charge

Finally, the ‘person in charge’ is the “the person present at a food service establishment or temporary food service event who is responsible for the operation at the time of inspection by the local health officer,” according to the law. This could be the business owner, general manager, shift supervisor, or anyone else given authority over the establishment at any given point in time.

The person in charge is ultimately responsible for making sure food handlers do their jobs properly. He or she is answerable to a local health officer who may visit the establishment to do a routine inspection or follow up on a customer complaint.

All these terms, and more, are part and parcel with food handler’s training. If you need a food handlers permit in Utah, we invite you to take our online training course. It meets all the requirements under state law and results in a recognized certificate of completion being issued after the exam is taken and passed.