Becoming a Food Safety Manager: Certification Must-Knows - Paster Training

Becoming a Food Safety Manager: Certification Must-Knows

One in ten people fall ill from contaminated food each year.

A responsible food safety manager will accurately know the best storage temperatures for safe food handling and internal cooking temperatures. They will know the FIFO method and so much more to prevent foodborne illnesses.

In the guide below, we answer some FAQs and things you need to know for the food safety manager exam as well as preparation tips. Keep reading to learn more!

The Purpose and Importance of Becoming a Food Safety Manager

The Certified Professional Food Manager (CPFM) is an excellent certification to hold in the hospitality industry. If you are interested in opening your own establishment you will need to obtain a food safety manager certification or onboard someone who already has one.

More than 48 million people get sick from a food-borne illness. 128,000 of these people end up hospitalized and 3,000 die each year. Instituting proper food safety practices will help to reduce the probability of having a biological, chemical, or physical hazard occur within all areas of your operation.


There are a few different varieties of food safety certification exams. Two of the most common brands are ServSafe and The National Registry of Food Safety Professionals. The food safety certifications training hours also can vary by state.

How Many Questions Are There?

The exam is 80 to 90 multiple-choice questions, depending on the brand. It can be completed online (with a virtual proctor) or in person.

How Long Is the Exam?

The exams have a time limit of two hours. Many persons complete the exam between 45 to 90 minutes but you have two hours to take the exam so do not rush through it.

How Do I Prepare for the Exam?

Make sure to get into a training class. You should have been provided some prework that you can do to help you memorize and recall the information for the exam. It can be difficult for some if you just walk into the class and then open up your book for the first time. There are quizzes and chapter questions that can be done prior to the class which will help you to determine what you already know and what you need to focus on and spend some time studying. There are many charts in the training manuals that are also good to review prior to class.

Can I Retake the Exam?

You can retake food safety manager exams. The passing score is 70% to 75%. If you do not pass, you can retake the exam by simply repaying an examination fee. Review the various policies and how often and when you can retake the test.

Surprisingly Difficult Exam Topics

The food safety management exams will have foundational food safety questions based on the latest FDA Model Food Code. Remember, the training and test are not on your operations policies or procedures. There is a lot of material that you wouldn't know unless you studied or worked in the retail food industry for some time so pre-studying, though not required, will increase your ability to pass the exam on the first attempt.

Some of these topics are:

  • The holding temperature for hot and cold foods
  • Internal cooking temperature for different foods
  • Delivery temperature
  • Biological, Chemical, and Physical Hazards
  • Interval of time food can be stored or left out
  • Cross-contamination and cross-contact (they are different)

These topics are can be confusing, but using the tips below will prepare you!

Strategies to Prepare for Your Food Safety Manager Certification

  • Take the training course
  • Intern in a kitchen
  • Make notecards
  • Prestudy- get a prestudy plan from the training company

Obtaining Your Food Safety Manager Certificate

Becoming a CPFM gives you an edge over others that do not have the certification. Industry looks upon a person favorably if you already have the CPFM when applying for a job. It helps you to stand out from the crowd.

Even holding this kind of knowledge will make you a safer home chef. Get in touch to begin your food safety certification!

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