I have lost my Food Handler Card. How can I have it back?
The Food Handler's Blog

I have lost my Food Handler Card. How can I have it back?


Have you lost your food handler's card or certificate and don't know how to get it back ? Well, this sometimes happens and the most important thing is that you do remember the name of the training company you used to get your certificate.

From there, if you did it with a training company, you should not have any more problems. Normally, you only have to contact the company , report the problem you have had and request a duplicate. This operation may or may not have a charge. For example, in Coformacion not only do we not charge for it, but we also send you a link to the email from the beginning so that you can download a copy of the certificate, diploma and card at any time, free of charge.

However, this is not the norm in the sector, so you will have to inform the respective training company to see if they charge for the procedure.

On the other hand, if you did it with the administration or some public entity, the thing is very different and it can be a slow and heavy process. Anyway, all entities will have -or should have- a procedure established for this type of situation. Therefore, it is best to contact the entity, report the problem and follow the steps indicated to you to receive a duplicate of the certification.

The real problem is when you don't remember with which company or entity you did the course. In these cases, if you did it online, then better, since you will surely have some copy in your email with some kind of information sent to you about it. So, you can search your email for the term "food handler" to rescue any messages you have about it.

Alternatively, you may want to check your browser's history for the same term in the hope of finding the link to the website you took the course with. This, of course, will only be valid if you use the same browser you used for the course, if you have deleted our browsing history and if it was not a long time ago. Otherwise, you will not find any reference in your history.

In the latter case, it is important to evaluate whether or not the date you took the course exceeds 4 years. If so, it will be more advisable to renew the card/certificate than to request a copy of one that may be considered obsolete by the authorities. Therefore, it would be more convenient to pass the exam again, with a more updated agenda in Food Hygiene.

Food Hygiene - Level 2 Certification

How do I renew my food handling card online?

Continuing with the previous case, the regulations do not establish a specific expiration date of the certificates, as was the case before, but this does not imply that they should not be renewed. In fact, it indicates that the training must be correctly updated. Therefore, although it does not expressly state that they must be renewed, in practice an 'old' certificate may be considered invalid as obsolete.

But, what is considered an old card or certificate? Despite the absence of a specific date, in the sector, the 4 years is usually taken as a reference, which is the term previously set by law, unless there has been a significant change in the Regulations (in the case of Allergens) that implies that the validity of the certificate is questionable.

In these cases, we in Coformacion, we inform all students promptly of the changes that may occur and whether they are affected or not. However, this is not the usual practice, as each training institution has its own procedures and this type of information is not required by law.

How do I know if my certificate or card has expired?

It is usual for the certificates / cards themselves to indicate the period of time after which it is advisable to renew the certificate / card. Thus, and although the reference time period is usually the 4 years as mentioned above, there is some variability depending on the sector. This, in any case, is only a reference and, if you want to be sure, the 4-year term is the tightest.

That said, in bars and restaurants the card is usually renewed every 4 years. In other businesses, such as hotels, which can serve more than 200 meals per day, the time is reduced to 3 years.

On the other hand, in the school canteens or geriatrics, the same certificate can be maintained for 5 years. In other sectors, such as horticultural, the renewal should take place within 7 years.

However, we insist that these deadlines are invalidated when there is a change in the regulations that is important enough to justify a renewal, as in the case of the Food Information Act / Allergens. Therefore, it is important that the training company itself has within its procedures to inform all students in such cases, as we do in Coformacion.

On the other hand, if the company you work for is responsible for food safety training, then each company's health documentation will include a renewal of the certificate every so often. It usually appears in the Training Plan and varies depending on the activity of each company.

Final advice

To carry out this renewal it is necessary to refresh the knowledge. In this sector, new regulations often appear from time to time, so it is also important to be up to date with changes. Failure to do so may result in violations of food safety regulations that may result in sanctions.

The best way to renew your certificate / card is to go to the Internet, as there are companies that offer these courses and that will make it easier for those interested to obtain the new card.

This is not to say that any one company is good enough for you, as they do not all offer the same confidence and there are many cases in which these companies are not even training companies, which can, at the very least, compromise the validity of the certificate for the authorities.

The main advice here is to check that the training company is reliable, that they have experience in teaching these courses and that they offer a customer service that can answer your questions quickly. It is also a good idea to make sure that the agenda is up to date with the latest changes.

More courses

More information

Food Standards Agency
Codex Alimentarius at FAO
European Food Safety Authority
WikiPedia - Food Safety


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