On August 27, 2013 Governor Pat Quinn Signed into law The Food Handling Regulation Act. These changes will directly affect all foodservice operators starting July 1, 2014. We would like to take this time to outline these changes and to explain how they will affect each one of you.
The first change this new law has already taken effect. The State of Illinois no longer provides the certification exam.
The State had been providing the certification exam at no cost to our membership. This new law changes that process. As of last January the State requires us to administer one of the certification exams that is recognized by The American National Standards Institute-Conference for Food Protection (ANSI).
The SafeDining Association has partnered with The Educational Foundation of The National Restaurant Association to provide our members with the ServSafe food safety training and testing materials. This part of the program is already in place.
In the past we have had two different levels of membership and pricing structures. To be able to keep the cost increase to a minimum membership levels will be eliminated and all members are billed at the same level of $119.00 per student. The costs of the new State required exam which will be billed at $30.00 per student. The cost for the State and City certificates will remain the same as they were $35.00 for the Illinois certificate and $45.00 for the Chicago certificate.
This pricing is in effect now and will be in place until the other part of the new law takes affect on July 1, 2014. At that time the seminar structure will change and our pricing will be adjusted to reflect the new laws. The remaining law changes will be outlined below.
Beginning July 1, 2014 the training hour requirement for the certification seminar will be reduced from two days (16 hours) to one day (8 hours).
Also on July 1, 2014 the recertification will change from a five hour seminar and no exam to a eight hour seminar and a exam requirement. So people doing a recertification will be required to attend the same seminar as a new certification and take the same test. Recertification will remain with the same every 5 year requirement.
The pricing structure for both new certification and re-certification will be the same.
Our members will be invoiced for either new certification or re-certification at a rate of $110.00 per student which includes the 7 hour seminar and 1 hour for the test, (the ServSafe test will be administered) and all study and testing materials.
The cost of the certificates has not increased so members will be invoiced at the current rate of $35.00 for Illinois and $45.00 for Chicago.
Another law that takes effect on July 1, 2014 is that a food handler certification card will be required for all people working in a foodservice establishment that do not hold a valid State certification. This will be a basic food safety training program and must be completed and documented within 30 days of hiring a new employee. Also included in this new law is the provision that all non-certified employees currently on staff must go through this training by July 1, 2014.
To accommodate this part of the law the State has required that the training program be approved by ANSI. Again we have partnered with ServSafe to provide the best and most cost effective means to roll-out this training. While this law takes effect July 1, 2014, enforcement will not be in place until January 1, 2015.
The SafeDining Association has put together the following options that will help our members to continue to receive the highest quality training at the minimal cost.
All member organizations who send their employees to our certification or re-certification classes will be able to accrue a $2.00 per student allotment that can be used towards the purchase of the training and testing materials that the State is requiring to comply with the new Food Handlers law. The money accrued can be used any time to reduce the cost of the food handlers course by $2.00 per employee.
All members will have two options to comply with the new law. You will be able to purchase course I.D. numbers from us that will allow your employees to do the training on-line, or you can choose to do an in-house training program and purchase the test scantron sheets.
If you choose the on-line program you will need to notify us when you want to purchase the course I.D. numbers. We will email you a course and test code to be used when your employee needs to access the course. The cost of the on-line course is $12.00. If you use your accrued vouchers you can reduce the cost of the on-line course by $2.00 per student. The cost would then be $10.00 per student. One accrued $2.00 voucher may be used towards the purchase of one on-line course.
Once the on-line course is completed, the test will be administered right on-line. If the student passes they will be able to print out their completed certificate. If they fail they will be able to take the test again.
If you choose the in-house option we will have a member of our roll-out team available to meet with any of your people that you would designate as trainers. We will take them through the paperwork needed to assign them as a proctor of the test with our Association. We will issue you a power point presentation at that your trainers can download and use whenever they need to do the training. There is no charge to download the power point presentation. Tests and scantrons will need to be ordered in advance and would be sent to the location where you will be conducting the course. Then the training is completed the proctor will need to send the materials back to ServSafe for processing (we will cover this process in the initial training for each trainer). The regular cost for the scantrons and test processing will be $10.00 per student. With the member voucher program you will be able to use an accrued $2.00 voucher to reduce the cost of the scantron to $8.00 each. One $2.00 voucher may me used to purchase one scantron.
Please contact us to set up an appointment to discuss which option would work best for your organization. You can email us at email@example.com, or call our office at 630-434-0588.
The State has promised us that by making these changes it will cut down the certification processing time from 6 to 10 weeks to 3 to 5 weeks. We truly hope that is the case as processing and getting certificates to the employees has been a nightmare so far to say the least.
Even though the new training and testing procedure will increase our cost of doing business we have made a decision not to cut back on our service and at the same time not to burden our members with a stiff cost increase.
While some of our competitors are advertising lower pricing and we realize that our members are being bombarded with solicitations from other providers, we ask you to look very close at these pricing structures and the companies providing the training. Most of the time the printed price does not include the study guides, the cost of the tests or the cost of the State and City certificates. If the training program is not approved by ANSI in Illinois, the Health Department will not recognize it. So look closely as to what you are getting for the price.
Our program and pricing includes all of those items. There are no hidden charges and it is ANSI approved in all jurisdictions.
It has always been our philosophy to produce thorough yet understandable training and legendary service at the most reasonable cost. In our 24 years of providing that level of service and education for our members we were always under the belief that our educational seminars and client service were head and shoulders above our competition. That high level of service has kept our membership loyal to us through all these years so that we fill up our classes and in turn keep our pricing structure reasonable.
Please take some time to look over the training options outlined. Realize we are flexible to design a training program to fit your needs.
Thank you to all of our members for your 24 years of loyalty to our Association. We are very proud to have a membership list of the finest corporate and independent foodservice organizations whose names stand for the highest quality of products and a true commitment to training their employees to serve that product safely. We look forward to maintaining our relationship with our members and creating new relationships to help you to continue providing the excellence of food safety that our customers have come to expect.