Food businesses in Philadelphia must have an employee certified in food safety present whenever they are operating, whether or not the business is open to the public.
These designated employees, often referred to as the Person In Charge or PIC, must complete a food safety course with an approved provider and receive an official City of Philadelphia food safety personnel certificate.
The original certificate must be posted at the food business where customers can see it. During a health inspection, your food safety certified person or Person in Charge will be asked to show a valid photo ID to the health inspector. The name on the certificate must match the name on the photo ID. The certified person or PIC will also be asked to answer a series of questions to show a good understanding of food safety.
Certifications are valid for five years, after which the employee must complete and pass another food safety course approved by the Department of Public Health.
Take a food safety course (16 hours of instruction) with an approved food safety certification course provider. You can take courses in English, Spanish, Mandarin, or Korean.
Where and when
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, all EHS services are available via phone or virtually. This includes services such as Plan Review, Change of Ownership, Permit Applications, and Food Safety Certification. Please call (215) 685-7495 to request a virtual consultation, coordinate payment, or submit an application.
Your first certificate costs $30. The replacement cost for a certificate is $50.
Fees are nonrefundable.
After you have completed the course, you will receive a course certificate. To apply for the City of Philadelphia food safety certification, you must send in:
- The City of Philadelphia food safety certification application form. If you are requesting a replacement certificate, the application must include a statement of the reason why you need a replacement certificate.
- A copy of your course certificate.
- A certified check, cashier’s check, or money order made out to Philadelphia Health Dept. – EHS. Money orders and cashier’s checks cannot be older than 30 days.
Be sure to register for a food safety course early and submit the required materials to the Department of Public Health as soon as you have completed the course. It can take up to 30 business days for the Department of Public Health to mail you a City of Philadelphia food safety certificate.