FAQs - Food Safety Education (FSE) Class

Q01:  What is Food Safety Education (FSE) Class?

A01:  Food Safety Education (FSE) is a food safety class taught by staff of the Environmental Health Division. When specific criteria are met, the owner of a food facility may be required to have their food handling employees and managers attend this class.

This class covers the basic principles of food safety, including time/temperature control, personal hygiene, food contamination and facility sanitation. View the Food Safety Education Bulletin  for more details.

Q02:  When are the classes scheduled?

A02:  Classes are scheduled at least two times per month, one class from 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and one from 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. You will receive a notice in the mail with the specific dates and times of upcoming classes. You can also visit the Food Safety Education page for a current class schedule.

Q03:  How long is the FSE class?

A03:  The class is approximately two and one-half hours.

Q04:  How much does the FSE class cost?

A04:  The fee is $20.00 per person.

Q05:  What is the registration process for FSE?

A05:  The following steps will occur:

  • The owner will be mailed a packet containing FSE registration information.  
  • Within two weeks of receiving this packet, the owner is required to register all food handling employees and managers.
  • All fees are required to be paid prior to attending the class.
    All food handling employees and managers must complete a FSE class within 60 days.

Q06:  Can I just tell my employees what to do instead?

A06:  No. California law currently states that one person at each facility is required to have taken and passed an accredited food safety certification exam.  The certified person is responsible for ensuring that all employees who handle food have sufficient knowledge to ensure the safe preparation of food.

If an Environmental Specialist has documented repeated major violations, it may be concluded that the certified person and management have failed to provide adequate food safety training.   Due to this failure, the Environmental Health Division is requiring that all food handlers and managers attend FSE.

Q07:  Can you give the class at my restaurant?

A07:  You may request that the FSE class be given at your facility during a three- hour block between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  If Environmental Health staff is available and your location has adequate facilities, your request will be granted. 

Off site classes are limited to twenty students, for fees please see the current fee schedule.  If more than 20 employees are required to attend FSE, a second off site food school may be scheduled for an additional fee or the additional employees can attend one of the classes offered at this department for $20 per person.

Q08:  Does this class meet the requirement for one person to have taken and passed an accredited food safety certification examination?

A08:  No. 

Q09:  What if my employees do not speak English?

A09:  The Environmental Management Department regularly offers FSE in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian and Punjabi. See the Food Safety Education page for a current class schedule.

If a FSE is not scheduled in the primary language of the food preparation employees in a facility, the owner may request that a class be provided. If resources are available, the request will be granted and a class scheduled.  If the Department is unable to accommodate the request, the owner will need to provide an interpreter during the class.

Q10:  What if I cannot complete the FSE requirement?

A10:  This FSE class is a requirement of the Sacramento County Code and, if not completed, will result in an infraction.  The first violation is punishable by a fine of not more than $100.00 plus court costs.  Each day the violation continues is a separate infraction. 

Q11:  Can I appeal this requirement?

A11:  As a requirement of Sacramento County Code Section 6.04.022, no appeal process is provided.

Q12:  What are major violations?

A12:  Major violations are violations that may contribute or lead to a foodborne illness.  Some examples of major violations are:

  • No soap and/or paper towels at the hand wash sink.
  • Employees not following hand wash requirements.
  • Cross contamination.
  • Improper cooling of potentially hazardous foods.
  • Improper thawing practices.
  • Foods not cooked to required temperature.
  • Prepared and cooled foods not reheated to 165° F.
  • Excessive unsanitary conditions.
  • Pest infestation posing threat of contamination.
  • Lack of hot and cold running water.

These are violations of the California Health and Safety Code Sections 113700 to 114475, also known as the California Retail Food Code (CalCode) .