Tom Wolf, GovernorRussell Redding, Secretary
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Food Employee Certification

The Pa Department ofAgriculture Food Employee Certification Act, 3 Pa C.S.§§ 6501 - 6510,was amended and signed into Law on November 24, 2010 and took effect January 22,2011.

  • The Act Food Employee Certification Act, 3 Pa C.S. §§ 6501 - 6510, as amended, requires one supervisory employee per food facility to become certified in food safety and sanitation by taking a nationally recognized Food Manager Certification Exam and obtaining a National Certificate of completion. National exams are those that have been approved by the Conference of Food Protection. There are many facilitators who offer supportive classes to prepare to take these exams. A list of trainers and training classes who are known to give these National courses and exams can be found under the PUBLICATIONS section below. The certification training may be obtained through classroom, computer-based, combination home study/classroom, or home study.

  • Nationally recognized courses and exams include: Prometrics, National Restaurant Association (ServSafe), National Registry and 360Training.com, Inc. and can be found at: https://www.ansica.org/wwwversion2/outside/ALLdirectoryListing.asp?menuID=8&prgID=8&status=4  Be cautious you are taking a Manager Certification course and NOT a Food Handlers Course. A Manager Certification course will end with you taking a proctored exam. 
  • The Act does not require the certified person to be on premises during all hours of business, but does require that they be available during all hours of operation. When in the facility, the certified supervisory employee is the Person-in-Charge (PIC).
  • New establishments will have 90 days to comply with the Act; existing establishments which are not in compliance due to employee turnover or other loss of certified person shall have three (3) months from the date of loss to comply.


  • 1. Your current PDA Certificate will be recognized up to its expiration date. Once your PDA Certificate expires, you must have a valid, updated, National Exam Certificate posted in your facility.
  • 2. Anyone who has recently taken a Nationally Recognized course/exam and has a valid National Certificate need not apply to the Department. The Department is no longer issuing PA FEC Certificates. Simply post your valid National Certificate in the food facility.
  • 3. Anyone who has not taken a Nationally Recognized Exam and who does not have a valid PDA Certificate must make arrangements to take one of the nationally recognized exams and post that National Certificate in the facility.

The types of food service establishments that need to comply with the Act include:

  • All Retail Food Facilities making/selling potentially hazardous foods, with some exceptions.
  • Restaurants (take-out or eat-in), fast foods to gourmet
  • Deli's - make sandwiches, slice meats and cheeses, hot foods
  • Snack bars - prepare hot and cold foods
  • Prepare pierogies
  • Belgium waffles with frozen dessert topping
  • Stadiums, race tracks, parks
  • Food vendors - hot dogs and other hot and cold foods
  • Donut shops that prepare sandwiches, etc.
  • Bars, clubs
  • Recreational facilities
  • Commissaries, caterers
  • Retail Frozen Desserts manufacturers
  • Retail bakeries manufacturing products which require refrigeration: cheesecakes, cream filled pies, cannoli, custard pies, meringue pies, etc.
  • Fairs/carnivals
    • Juice extract stand (lemonade and other fruits)
    • Hot dogs and hamburgers
    • Hand dipped ice cream
    • Pizza prepared on site
    • Fry, grill, cook, roast, steam any foods
    • Prepare sandwiches, subs, salads
    • Prepare fresh fruit cup

Exemptions to the Act:

The following are exempt from the provisions of this Act and although are encouraged to take a class are not required to do so.

  • Food establishments where only commercially prepackaged food is handled and sold.(Includes PHF and Non PHF)
  • Food establishments that do not handle potentially hazardous foods.
  • All food manufacturing facilities
  • An organization classified as tax-exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
  • Food establishments managed on a not-for-profit basis by a volunteer fire company or an ambulance, religious, charitable, fraternal, veterans, civic, agriculture fair or agricultural association or any separately chartered auxiliary of any of the above.
  • A food establishment managed on a not-for-profit basis by organizations supporting extra-curricular recreational activities for youth of all public, private and parochial school systems.
    Examples: school booster clubs, Little League or Midget Football Associations.


Pamela Hall
Administrative Assistant
(717) 787-4315

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