Restaurants and other eateries in Indiana that fail to meet the new Food Handler Certification requirement by Jan. 1 may be fined up to $100 per day.
More than 20,000 Indiana businesses and institutions that will have to comply with the law, which requires most places that serve food to have at least one certified handler on staff.
Responsible for the "storage, preparation, display or serving of food to the public," food handlers are not required to be at the food establishment at all times, but no individual can be the designated food handler for more than one location. Representatives from the food industry proposed the rule, which the Indiana General Assembly passed in 2001, allowing a four-year grace period for infrastructure buildup.
Designed to reduce food sickness caused by salmonella, E. coli and cross-contamination, the law applies to every facility that does any on-site cooking, including schools, churches, fraternity and sorority houses, bars, taverns and strip clubs.
Food handlers must pass a nationally accredited test, which they must retake every five years. Most test providers charge between $35 and $50 for the examination. Packages, which include training and materials, cost between $80 and $125.