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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Food Handler Certification Program

The Food Handler Certification Program teaches food handlers the general principles of safe food handling, including topics such as public health legislation, food microbiology and food allergies, temperature control, cross-contamination and personal hygiene, cleaning and sanitizing, etc.


Important Update: Please note the Middlesex-London Health Unit is no longer offering food handler certification courses or tests. For current certification options please see Courses.


Self Study





Picture of a food handler certificate


If you have questions about Food Handler Certification options, please contact us:


Why certify food handlers?

(1) To increase knowledge and improve food safety.

The Food Handler Certification Program is designed to teach food handlers the general principles of safe food handling. Course topics include:

  • Role of the Public Health Inspector and Public Health Legislation
  • Food Microbiology and Food Allergies
  • Temperature Control, Cross-contamination and Personal Hygiene
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing
  • Pest Control
  • Introduction to HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points)

(2) To meet legal requirements.

Ontario Food Premises Regulation - As of July 1, 2018 there is a requirement to have a certified food handler on-site in food service premises. Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) states:

Every operator of a food service premise shall ensure that there is at least one food handler or supervisor on the premise who has completed food handler training during every hour in which the premise is operating.

“food service premise” means any food premise where meals or meal portions are prepared for immediate consumption or sold or served in a form that will permit immediate consumption on the premises or elsewhere.

(3) Local By-Laws

In addition, Food Premises Inspection and Mandatory Food Handler Training By-laws are in effect in the City of London and in all municipalities in Middlesex County. The by-laws state:

The operator of a food premises where hazardous food is prepared must ensure that there is at all times, when the food premises is operating, at least one Certified Food Handler who is supervising the preparation, processing, packaging, service or storage of food.

Visit Food Safety Laws for more details about the by-laws.


If you would like to take a course, please contact one of the course providers below. NOTE: Food handler courses are not offered by the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

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Self Study

Some people prefer to study for food handler certification on their own time. See the options below for self study material. The food handler certification test can be written at the London Training Centre, or another public health unit.

Online Training Manual
A free copy of study material is available in English and French.

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Food Handler Certification Tests

Food handler certification tests can be written if you have finished self study, or do not require any study materials. Options:

(1) London Training Centre

Please contact the London Training Centre for the safe food handling test challenge.

(2) Public Health Units
For information about taking the test at another public health unit, please contact the public health unit directly.

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Food Handler Certificates

Food handler certificates issued by the Middlesex-London Health Unit:

  • Will be issued to students who pass the test (get at least 70%).
  • Are valid for 5 years from date of issue.
  • Are accepted by public health units across Ontario.
  • Meet the requirements for food safety training as set out by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and local by-laws for mandatory food handler certification.

Lost or Misplaced Certificate

  • If the lost or misplaced certificate was issued by another course provider (see the chart), please contact the course provider directly.
  • For certificates issued by the Middlesex-London Health Unit (through MLHU or the London Training Centre) before November 2022, please e-mail For certificates issued after November 2, 2022, please contact the London Training Centre.

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Food Handler Recertification

Food handler certificates are valid for 5 years from the date of issue. Before your food handler certificate expires, you should get recertified in one of the following ways:

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Date of creation: January 31, 2013
Last modified on: March 14, 2024