It’s critical to recognize the potential hazards of food, especially if you’re in the food business. You can take preventative measures when you understand how food can get contaminated.

Food contamination causes foodborne sickness and its business-destroying relative, a foodborne illness outbreak. Food contamination occurs when something that should not be present enters the food, rendering it dangerous to consume.

However, every California Food Handler must be careful to avoid several food safety risks that could lead to food contamination, and this risk falls into three categories: biological, physical, and chemical. The most prevalent is the physical approach of how food handlers can contaminate food, causing illness in consumers.


Biologically, microorganisms offer no risk to health. Indeed, many species of bacteria are necessary for human survival and wellness. You’ve

How Food Handlers Contaminate Foods

How Food Handlers Contaminate Foods

undoubtedly heard of some of them, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, which gives food a distinctive character and aids digestion.

However, Bacterial contamination is responsible for a more significant percentage of foodborne infections that end in hospitalization worldwide.


It is difficult to remove chemicals from the food supply. Government bodies such as the FDA regulate many potentially dangerous substances, such as pesticides and herbicides. However, other substances can contaminate the food eaten that you may not be aware of.

Cleaning agents used to clean your food preparation surface and eating utensils can contaminate foods they come into touch with if not properly washed off, removed, or neutralized. A wide range of additives in chemicals is used in food preparation. Some affect human health, while some are good and many are toxic.


This is a direct approach to contamination; a physical food hazard is when a contaminant fall upon food that could cause illness or injury to the person eating it. Directly, food handlers can contaminate food or mistakenly introduce pathogens to food.

Hair in food, a tiny pebble in your salad that might shatter your tooth if you bite it, and many that may not be seen with the naked eye.

How Food Handlers Can Contaminate Food 

Poor personal hygiene can pose significant problems in the kitchen or service area, causing food poisoning and may cause irreparable damage to the reputation of a food business.

As a food handler, you must maintain proper personal hygiene to maintain a safe working environment and avoid spreading foodborne illnesses. Avoid contamination of food by immediately properly washing your hands after any of the following:

California Food Handler CardScratching the Scalp

Bacteria are food in hair follicles and cause folliculitis. Shaving or plucking hair on the head can cause folliculitis on the scalp. 

A Food handler with a scalp ailment who scratches excessively may contract a scalp infection, causing harm to consumers.

Running a Finger through the Hair

Also, hair is a source of microbiological contamination. As a result, every hair in food might be a source of cross-contamination and make consumers sick.

A professional food handler must avoid running your finger through your hair to lessen the chance of contracting any food poisoning that may fall into your food as a result of this action. It is advisable to cover hair tightly in the kitchen and service area.

Wiping or Touching the Nose

Microbes that are harmful to humans can be transmitted by diarrhea, vomiting, and nose fluids. Food poisoning germs are abundant in the nose and mouth and quickly transfer to food.

Stay at home if you have a cold or a sore throat: Cough or sneeze away from food, especially kitchen.

Rubbing an ear

Because the ear can harbor illness or discharge, food handlers should avoid massaging their ears to prevent food contamination.

Touching pimples of infected wound/boil

Pimples, wounds, and boils are the most common skin defects. They can spread when food is handled by someone who comes into contact with infected areas.

A food handler must avoid touching the infected area or preparing s ready-to-eat items, including salads, prepared meat, and fruit. 

Wearing or toughing dirty uniform

Dirty clothing is a significant source of cross-contamination in the kitchen because it can transport bacteria from one location to another. All clothes should be washed and stored correctly to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Avoid wearing or touching dirty clothes, and always use high-quality cleaning chemicals—store clean garments in a clean, dry place, away from any potential sources of contamination.

Coughing and Sneezing unto Hand

If you cough or sneeze into your hands, wash your hands and replace any gloves properly. Wipe away sweat from your face with a cloth or paper towel, then thoroughly wash your hands to save your food consumers.

Spitting in the operation

Pathogens can cause foodborne diseases or infections through saliva. So, avoid spitting in the kitchen or food area to prevent spreading infectious diseases, which are distributed through saliva.

To reduce the possibility of contamination in your food operation, always:

  1. Maintain solid hygiene standards
  2. Cover raw food on shelves, or refrigerate
  3. Make different sorts of cuisine with other tools or utensils
  4. Wash your hands frequently with the proper hand washing technique.
  5. Properly handle and dispose of food scraps and waste.


Preventing food contamination in your food service establishment

Everyone who handles food must take all reasonable care to prevent foodborne disease and contamination from affecting the public. Knowing food handling performance will have a negative and positive impact on productivity.

Training is the most effective means of preventing food contamination and ensuring food safety. Learn all rudiments of food safety today. Become a California Food Handler at Ace Food Handler today.


You can download your free copy of How Food Handlers Contaminate food below.

California Food Handler

How Food Handlers Contaminate Foods

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California Food Handler, Texas Food Handler, Arizona Food Handler, Illinois BASSET

ACE Food Handler's food handlers card training and test uses the latest instructional design techniques to help you retain food safety concepts so you are ready to work.

The description below applies to most of our  food handlers card training course, however due to the varying array of requirements across the nation, your course might be a little different. Find your state county and city above to learn more about food handler training for your area.

Format: Online
Compatible Devices:  Phones, tablets, laptops, desktops
Teaching Methods: Videos, audio, text slides, interactive activities
Available Languages: English and some courses are available in Spanish
Choose your language after purchase.
Length: Approximately 90 minutes

ACE Food Handler’s food handlers card course is approved by numerous state, county, and city  health departments and/or regulatory agencies nationwide. ACE Food Handler holds the ANSI Certificate Program Accreditation (ASTM e2659-2015) Accreditation ID 1234.

The purpose of the food handlers card training and test is to prepare food handlers to enter the workforce by providing the required food safety information as specified by regulations of the workers’ state, county, or city government.

This food handler training and test will prepare you to become a responsible food handler, with the added responsibility of protecting the health of the general public and all the customers you serve.

Food Handler Course Content:

  • Food Safety Definitions
  • Food Safety Behaviors
  • Approved Reputable Suppliers
  • Proper Holding and Cooking Temperatures
  • Consumer Advisories
  • Food Safety Illnesses and Hygiene
  • Food Safety Cross Contamination
  • Proper Thawing and Cooling Techniques
  • Wash-Rinse-Sanitize
  • Food  Handlers and Pest Control





Frequently Asked Questions

What is a food handlers card?

A food handlers card (also commonly referred to as a certificate, card, or permit)  is used as  documentation to prove to employers and/or health departments that you have completed a food safety course that is approved and/or recognized by your city, coutny, or state Health Authority. It is valid for 2 to 4 years depending on your local government requirments.

When do I need to get my food handlers card?

This varies by employeers and city, county, and state governements. It is best to ask your employer (current or future) or Local Health Authority about when you will need to aquire your food handler card based on your employement date.

Is this food handler training and test valid in my area?

ACE Food Handler works with numberjous health departments and regulatory agencies across the country.  ACE Food Handler’s food handlers card courses are created to meet the requirements of specific city, coutny, and state requirements. If you have questions about your city, county or state requirements please call your employer (current or future) and/or you Local Health Authority.

What do I get when I finish this course?

A food handlers card, permit, or certificate for your area. You will be able to print or download your food handler certificate after you have received a passing score on the final exam. You will also be emailed a PDF a copy of your certificate to the email address you provided so please check your inbox and/or spam box also. 

How long is my food handlers card valid for?
Your ACE Food Handler Card is valid for 2 to 4 years depending on your local government requirments.
How do I renew my food handlers card?
If your food handlers card, certicate, or permit has expired, you will need to purchase a new course for your state and retake your states food handler training and test to get our new card.  Click here to find your State.

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Renew Certificate

If your food handlers card, certificate, or permit has expired, you will need to purchase a new course for your state and retake your states food handler training and test to get your new card. Click here to find your State

Reprint Certificate

If you need to reprint your current card, login and go to the Start My Course. From there, you can click on the name of your Certificate under the heading "My Certificates"  on the right hand side of the screen and print or download your food handler or alcohol seller/server card or certificate for free.

Reorder Certificate
Some Sates require an additional official documentation from your Local Health Department or Alcohol Control Board. If you have lost the card you received from your state, county, Local Health Department, or State Alcohol Control Board  you will need to call that specific department to obtain a new card, permit, or certificate.

If you need to track your employees or restaurants food handler certifications we offer:

Contact ACE for a Custom Solution for your Business

California RBS Training

The California Department of Public Health Food Handler’s Card

 The California Department of Public Health Food Handler’s Card The state of California recommends that individuals work in restaurants and non-restaurant facilities to complete food handing training. A California food handler card is valid everywhere in California except in Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties which have pre-existing local food handler card programs. Consult with the local enforcement agencies in each of these counties to obtain information on their local food handler programs and requirements. Once you have finished your course, you may print out your certificate of completion. This certificate will serve as your California Food Handler’s Card that qualifies you to work in the food service industry in California.

More Details

California food workers who handle food must have a California Food Handler card on file with their employer within 30 days of hire. To get your card, you must complete the training and pass the exam with a 75 percent or higher. You can complete the training online with ACE Food Handler. Ace Food Handler training and final exam meets the requirements of California’s food safety law SB 602 and is ANSI Approved.   12-20-2017 . California Department of Public Health – Food and Drug Branch 1500 Capitol Ave, MS 7602 Sacramento, CA 95814


California Food Handler

California Department of Public Health – Food and Drug Branch

1500 Capitol Ave, MS 7602

Sacramento, CA 95814

California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control District Office 2400 Del Paso Road, Suite 155 Sacramento CA, 95834


(916) 419-1319

California RBS Training Program Approved Training Provider

California RBS Training Program Approved Training Provider

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