(1) The division shall adopt, by rule, minimum food safety protection standards for the training of all food service employees who are responsible for the storage, preparation, display, or serving of foods to the public in establishments regulated under this chapter. These standards shall not include an examination, but shall provide for a food safety training certificate program for food service employees to be administered by a private nonprofit provider chosen by the division.
(2) The division shall issue a request for competitive sealed proposals which includes a statement of the contractual services sought and all terms and conditions applicable to the contract. The division shall award the contract to the provider whose proposal is determined in writing to be the most advantageous to the state, taking into consideration the price and the other criteria set forth in the request for proposals. The division shall contract with a provider on a 4-year basis and is authorized to promulgate by rule a per employee fee to cover the contracted price for the program administered by the provider. In making its selection, the division shall consider factors including, but not limited to, the experience and history of the provider in representing the food service industry, the provider’s demonstrated commitment to food safety, and its ability to provide a statewide program with industry support and participation.
(3) Any food safety training program established and administered to food service employees utilized at a licensed public food service establishment prior to July 1, 2000, shall be submitted by the operator or the third-party provider to the division for its review and approval on or before September 1, 2004. If the food safety training program is found to be in substantial compliance with the division’s required criteria and is approved by the division, nothing in this section shall preclude any other operator of a food service establishment from also utilizing the approved program or require the employees of any operator to receive training from or pay a fee to the division’s contracted provider. Review and approval by the division of a program or programs under this section shall include, but need not be limited to, verification that the licensed public food service establishment utilized the program prior to July 1, 2000, and the minimum food safety standards adopted by the division in accordance with this section.
(4) Approval of a program is subject to the provider’s continued compliance with the division’s minimum program standards. The division may conduct random audits of any approved programs to determine compliance and may audit any program if it has reason to believe a program is not in compliance with this section. The division may revoke a program’s approval if it finds a program is not in compliance with this section or the rules adopted under this section.
(5) It shall be the duty of each public food service establishment to provide training in accordance with the described rule to all food service employees of the public food service establishment. The public food service establishment may designate any certified food service manager to perform this function. Food service employees must receive certification within 60 days after employment. Certification pursuant to this section shall remain valid for 3 years. All public food service establishments must provide the division with proof of employee training upon request, including, but not limited to, at the time of any division inspection of the establishment. Proof of training for each food service employee shall include the name of the trained employee, the date of birth of the trained employee, the date the training occurred, and the approved food safety training program used.
(6)(a) Third-party providers shall issue to a public food service establishment an original certificate for each employee certified by the provider and an original card to be provided to each certified employee. Such card or certificate shall be produced by the certified food service employee or by the public food service establishment, respectively, in its duly issued original form upon request of the division.
(b) Effective January 1, 2005, each third-party provider shall provide the following information on each employee upon certification and recertification: the name of the certified food service employee, the employee’s date of birth, the employing food service establishment, the name of the certified food manager who conducted the training, the training date, and the certification expiration date. This information shall be reported electronically to the division, in a format prescribed by the division, within 30 days of certification or recertification. The division shall compile the information into an electronic database that is not directly or indirectly owned, maintained, or installed by any nongovernmental provider of food service training. A public food service establishment that trains its employees using its own in-house, proprietary food safety training program approved by the division, and which uses its own employees to provide this training, shall be exempt from the electronic reporting requirements of this paragraph, and from the card or certificate requirement of paragraph (a).
(7) The division may adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 necessary to administer this section. The rules may require:
(a) The use of application forms, which may require, but need not be limited to, the identification of training components of the program and an applicant affidavit attesting to the accuracy of the information provided in the application;
(b) Third-party providers to maintain and electronically submit information concerning establishments where they provide training or training programs pursuant to this section;
(c) Specific subject matter related to food safety for use in training program components; and
(d) The public food service establishment to be responsible for providing proof of employee training pursuant to this section, and the division may request production of such proof upon inspection of the establishment.
(8) The following are violations for which the division may impose administrative fines of up to $1,000 on a public food service establishment, or suspend or revoke the approval of a particular provider’s use of a food safety training program:
(a) Failure of a public food service establishment to provide proof of training pursuant to subsection (5) upon request by the division or an original certificate to the division when required pursuant to paragraph (6)(a).
(b) Failure of a third-party provider to submit required records pursuant to paragraph (6)(b) or to provide original certificates or cards to a public food service establishment or employee pursuant to paragraph (6)(a).
(c) Participating in falsifying any training record.
(d) Failure of the program to maintain the division’s minimum program standards.