How to Get a Food Handler's License in New Jersey

by Ciele Edwards; Updated September 26, 2017
New Jersey requires that those handling food possess food handler's licenses.

New Jersey requires each worker in the food service industry to possess a food handler’s license before handling and preparing food. A food handler’s license demonstrates that the individual in question possesses proper knowledge of how to prevent food contamination and, accordingly, how to reduce food-borne illnesses. If you plan to apply for a job in New Jersey as a chef, a cafeteria worker or any other position that requires you to work in close proximity to food, you must obtain a food handler’s license.

Items you will need

  • Food handler's license application
  • Proof of basic food service training
  • Fee
Step 1

Take a basic food service training course. The training course teaches you how to safely prepare food and practice proper hygiene when working with food items.

Step 2

Visit your county health department and request an application for a food handler’s license. Some counties in New Jersey have food handler’s license applications available online through the county health department’s website.

Step 3

Make a copy of the certificate that notes your completion of a minimum of five hours of basic food service training.

Step 4

Fill out the food handler’s license application.

Step 5

Mail the completed application, your proof of training and the required fee to your county health department. The fee and time frame for processing your application will vary depending on your county of residence.


  • You must renew your New Jersey food handler’s license every year. If you do not, your license will expire.


  • You must take your food service training course from a source approved by your county’s health department. Failing to do so could result in the state turning down your application for a food handler’s license. Ask your county health department for a list of approved training providers before booking your classes.

    A certificate of completion for a basic food service training course is valid only for three years. If you do not obtain your food handler’s license within that time frame you must retake the course and obtain new certification before sending off your application.

About the Author

Ciele Edwards holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been a consumer advocate and credit specialist for more than 10 years. She currently works in the real-estate industry as a consumer credit and debt specialist. Edwards has experience working with collections, liens, judgments, bankruptcies, loans and credit law.

Photo Credits

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