Food Manager Certification

Each establishment in Wisconsin must have at least one employee that is State certified in food safety.  This license is known as a Certified Food Manager or CFM license.  Here are the main things you need to know about the license.

  •  You cannot be a CFM for multiple locations.  Ergo your license can hang at only one place.
  •  The operator of an new establishment or one that has applied for a new food and drink license (change of owner) has 90 days after the business opens to get someone certified. The paperwork takes a few weeks so don’t wait!
  • The current certified manager’s certificate must be conspicuously posted on the premises.  If you don’t have it, don’t tell the health department you do…they can simply call their coworkers and verify it. It set s a bad tone for your inspection when you lie.  You might think your inspector is dumb, but they do this all day every day just like the police. They can tell when you are feeding them a line.
  • Certification is good for five years, at which time you must take a recertification class &  exam and reapplyYou have 6 months to do this from the time your license expires or you have to take the full day class & exam again.
  • Not all exams are created equal!  Make sure the facility or online vendor you are taking your exam from uses one of the DHFS approved certification exams.  Don’t get screwed by some quick, online test!
  • It’s a good idea to have more than one CFM on staff in case one quits or get fired.

Taking the exam and passing it DOES NOT mean you have your certification.  You have to take it a few steps further.  Apply for State certification by submitting all of the following:

  1. Proof of taking the course and passing the exam-provide a copy of the official certificate from the testing organization.
  2. A check for $10 made out to the Department of Health and Family Services.
  3. State of Wisconsin Food Manager Certification application form.

If you took/passed the test awhile ago, but never applied and wonder if you still can the answer is YES?  You have 3 years after passing to still apply.

Don’t know if you are certified?
Lost your card and need a duplicate?
Took the exam in another state and wonder if you can get reciprocity in Wisconsin?



Wisconsin Restaurant Association
Tavern League of Wisconsin
The Big List of Who Else Gives Classes



Give me a call or slog around the following regulatory websites

WI Dept. of Health Services- Food Safety & Recreational Licensing  (608) 266-0915

Public Health Department: Madison/Dane County  (608) 243-0330

Wisconsin Department of Health Services  (608) 266-2835