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Frequently Asked Questions


How does one go about becoming a certified food service sanitation manager?

Complete an approved 8 hour Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC) Training; successful completion of an IDPH approved Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification examination with a final score of 75% or higher; and payment to IDPH of a $35 certificate fee.

How long is the Food Service Sanitation Manager certificate good for?

The certificate is valid for five years unless revoked under Section 750.560 of the IDPH Food Service Sanitation Code.

What is done with the certificate upon receipt?

Original certificates of certified managers shall be maintained at the place of business and shall be made available for inspection

Which food service establishments must be under the operational supervision of a certified food service sanitation manager?

All food service establishments, except Category III facilities, shall be under the operational supervision of a certified food service sanitation manager.

Category I facilities shall have a certified food service sanitation manager on the premises at all times that potentially hazardous food is being handled, except as specified in subsections (1)(A) and (B) of this Section.

A certified food service sanitation manager is not required on the premises during hours of operation when all food products sold have been prepared and packaged commercially or prepared under the supervision of a certified food service sanitation manager.


Category I facility means a food establishment that presents a high relative risk of causing foodborne illness based on the large number of food handling operations typically implicated in foodborne outbreaks and/or the type of population served by the facility. Category I facilities include those where the following operations occur:

  • Cooling of potentially hazardous foods, as part of the food handling operation at the facility;

  • Potentially hazardous foods are prepared hot or cold and held hot or cold for more than 12 hours before serving;

  • Potentially hazardous cooked and cooled foods must be reheated;

  • Potentially hazardous foods are prepared for off-premises serving for which time-temperature requirements during transportation, holding and service are relevant;

  • Complex preparation of foods or extensive handling of raw ingredients with hand contact for ready-to-eat foods occurs as part of the food handling operations at the facility;

  • Vacuum packaging and/or other forms of reduced oxygen packaging are performed at the retail level; or immune-compromised individuals such as the elderly, young children under age 4 and pregnant women are served, where these individuals comprise the majority of the consuming population.

A. All community-based programs licensed by the Department of Human Services and operating under rules that do not reference this Part are exempt from subsection (a)(1) of this Section (e.g., Community Integrated Living Arrangements, including the formerly licensed Community Residential Alternatives; Supervised Living Arrangements; Home Individual Placements and Special Home Placements; Child and Specialized Group Homes or Child Care Institutions for no more than 7 to 10 individuals).

B. Health care facilities licensed under the Hospital Licensing Act [210 ILCS 85], Nursing Home Care Act [210 ILCS 45], or Alternative Health Care Delivery Act [210 ILCS 3] that are subject to this Part may comply in one of the following alternative ways:

i. Health care facilities may develop a list of foods approved by a certified food service sanitation manager that, under specific circumstances, may be prepared or served by trained staff under the supervision of a health care professional without the presence of a certified food service sanitation manager. These specific circumstances may include late night snacks or light meals prepared at the request of a physician or individual patient/resident. The list of foods shall include instructions for preparing, serving and storing the foods.

ii. Health care facilities as specified in subsection (a)(1)(B) are exempt from the requirement of subsection (a)(1) of this Section provided the food service in each facility is under the operational supervision of a manager or supervisor who has been certified in food service sanitation and the food service staff annually receive in-service food sanitation training as follows: for nursing homes, in accordance with the rules promulgated pursuant to the Nursing Home Care Act; and for all other health care facilities, 5 hours annually.


Category II facilities shall employ a minimum of one full-time certified food sanitation manager each establishment.

Category II facility means a food establishment that presents a medium relative risk of causing foodborne illness based upon few food handling operations typically implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks.

Category II facilities include those where the following operations occur: Category II facility means a food establishment that presents a medium relative risk of causing foodborne illness based upon few food handling operations typically implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks.

Category II facilities include those where the following operations occur:hot or cold foods are held at required temperatures for no more than 12 hours and are restricted to same day services; foods prepared from raw ingredients use only minimal assembly; and

foods that require complex preparation (whether canned, frozen or fresh prepared) are obtained from approved food processing plants, high risk food service establishments or retail food stores.


Category III facilities do not require the operational supervision of a certified food service sanitation manager.

Category III facility means a food establishment that presents a low relative risk of causing foodborne illness based upon few or no food handling operations typically implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks. Category III facilities include those where the following operations occur:

Only pre-packaged foods are available or served in the facility, and any potentially hazardous foods available are commercially pre-packaged in an approved processing plant;

Only limited preparation of non-potentially hazardous foods and beverages, such as snack foods and carbonated beverages, occurs at the facility; or

Only beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are served at the facility.


Special Circumstances

1. New food service establishments except Category III facilities shall have a certified food service sanitation manager from the initial day of operation or shall provide documentation of enrollment in an approved course to be completed within three months.

2. Food service establishments which are not in compliance with this Section because of employee turnover or other loss of certified personnel, shall have three months from date of loss of certified personnel to comply.

3. Incidental absences of the certified food service sanitation manager due to temporary illness, short errands off the premises, etc., shall not constitute a violation of this Section, provided there is documentation that a certified food service sanitation manager was scheduled to work at that time.


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