Best Value, Least Risk CFO Training

hands washing femaleBy law, Cottage Food Operators (CFOs) in California must complete a food processor’s training course within 90 days of getting a CFO permit. In  San Diego you have two options, online classes approved by the state or classroom style classes approved by the county.  Online classes are faster, cheaper, and more convenient if you have computer access. We compared the online providers for you and found that one, eFoodHandlers (also known as caFoodHandlers), has the best price and least risk of online training classes.

The complete list of approved online training organizations for California CFOs is here. For our comparisons of price, languages, etc. click our Comparison of Online Trainings. For a list of classroom-style, San Diego County approved trainings see page two here.

For only $10 (called for California) guarantees you will pass the test after reviewing the material from their website. Material can be read online, viewed in a video, or downloaded for review offline. Passing is guaranteed because you review the material and take the test prior to paying for the course! You can take the test as many times as needed until you pass, showing that you understand the basics of safe food handling, preparation, and storage. After all, isn’t that what is important?

The website will walk you through the steps. You can start and stop as often as needed. It will automatically keep track of where you are in the process. I registered one day, reviewed the materials and took the test several days later, paid for the class the following day and printed the certificate a few days after that. My experience was that the information was clearly presented, easy to understand, and the test provided instant feedback on correct/incorrect answers to aid in learning. The test also is available online in Spanish.

For those who do not like computers or who do not have the option to study and test online, San Diego County has classroom training for food handler’s cards which will be accepted for CFOs in SD County. A list of those courses can be seen here on page two. Some classes are walk-in and others are by pre-registration only so be sure to check. Also, be aware that most in-person classes cost around $25.

If you need to take the test in another language, some of the online trainings offer Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese, and most offer a Spanish option. For classroom training in San Diego, most courses are offered in English or Spanish, and the Chinese Services Center offers classes in Chinese.


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    • Kelly on February 28, 2013 at 11:15 am
    • Reply

    This definitely seems like the best value, but it is not on the San Diego county approved list… does that mean that you still must pay to take a county approved test after obtaining the card?

    1. Good question! This California state health department-approved course is also accepted by the county. San Diego County Environmental Health will accept either the online class certifications approved by the state or the classroom based courses approved for SD County food handler cards. No need to do both.

    • Bridget on April 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm
    • Reply

    Ok I am confused I saw this statement that they will NOT accept online classes for SD county

    SDHNS Home
    Welcome to SDHNS
    Tuesday, 12 August 2008 01:26 | Written by Administrator | PDF | Print | E-mail

    If your employer requires you to have a valid San Diego County Food Handlers Card or your card has expired, our Three Hour Food Handler Classes can get you certified. Our classes are scheduled throughout San Diego County. Classes can be scheduled for groups of nine or more at your establishment and at your convenience. Our classes are taught by Certified Professional Food Handler Instructors and the classes are designed to be interactive, entertaining and informative. Classes are available in either English or Spanish. Upon completion of the class you will be given the San Diego County Food Handler Test which requires a passing score in order to obtain a food handlers card.

    Please note that the online California Food Handlers Certificate is not accepted in San Diego County.

    1. Certain online food handler certification classes have been approved by the state as safe food handling/training classes for Cottage Food Operators (CFOs). In San Diego County, those classes are acceptable (see the list available on our site). The confusion comes because restaurants, cafeterias, food trucks, etc. are regulated differently and for them SD County Environmental Health only approves classroom training. The good news for CFO’s in SD County is that we can use either the approved online or classroom trainings. See also our post on Latest Training News

    • Bridget on April 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm
    • Reply

    I also saw this posting as well requiring a 2nd cert? food safety manager.

    In addition to the County’s food handler training requirement there is also a state requirement for a certified
    food safety manager. State law requires each food facility to have at least one owner/ employee that has
    passed a state

    approved food safety certification exam. Each certification is applicable to only one facility.
    These certificates are valid for
    years and must be renewed. There are
    approved exams that meet the
    state required food safety certification requirement: ServSafe, Experior,
    and National Registry of
    Food Safety Professionals. Please contact them directly for course locations and information

    1. These requirements are directed to food handlers working in restaurants, cafeterias, etc. A more highly trained food safety manager is needed to oversee many food handlers. You do not need a certified food safety manager certification for your cottage food operation.

    • Bridget on April 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm
    • Reply

    Hi I read in my paper work that if you get a class B license you must also get a permit. What permit are they referring to and what is the cost

    1. Not sure either. You must have a safe food handler’s permit as noted above. Maybe you can email us the exact wording and document you are referring to and we can find out more.

        • Bridget on April 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm
        • Reply

        Here is the link when I tried to copy it the format was all screwed up

        Under categories Class B Direct and Indirect sales
        (permit application is required)

        1. Ah! It is the County Health Permit. See the post on “Applications available at!” or our Resources page under Forms/Permits. You need only fill out the upper portion and sign/date it.

            • Bridget on April 15, 2013 at 9:47 am

            Thank u

    • Linda on August 14, 2013 at 11:15 am
    • Reply

    When we are finished with the class do we take the paperwork to the county office or can we fax it or mail it? Thanks!

    1. You can fax or mail them a copy. Keep the original with your permit, license, and other business information.

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