Food Handler Program

The objective of this program is to provide UTRGV students, faculty, and staff with the training necessary for the reduction of hazards associated with poor food handling practices. The Food Handler Program is designed to educate the community on the risks of foodborne illness, concentrating on prevention. Participants will be able to identify and respond appropriately to food-related health concerns and emergencies such as foodborne illness, food allergies, uncontrolled fires, and choking.

Campus events that involve preparing and selling food are classified as “temporary food establishments”. Any temporary food establishment is required to follow current food handling standards as reviewed by the city’s Code Enforcement department.


The Department of Environmental Health, Safety, and Risk Management (EHSRM) provides UTRGV students, faculty, and staff with the training necessary for the reduction of hazards associated with poor food handling practices. EHSRM encourages as many participants as possible complete Food Handler Training in order to become Food Handler Leaders during the event as well as in the community. The Food Handler Leader should be knowledgeable of basic food safety rules and procedures and should ensure that all participants are following these rules and procedures at all times.

Food Handler Training Description

Food Handler Training is mandatory for all food handlers of any UTRGV organization interested in distributing and/or selling food on campus. At least one participating student, faculty, or staff member per food-related event must represent their organization and act as Food Safety Leader or Person in Charge (PIC) at all times during the event. Food Handler Training topics include Foodborne Illness/Pathogens, Proper Food Handling, Safe Cooking Temperatures, Rules of Storage, and Emergency Procedures. Certificates for UTRGV students are distributed through the Office of Student Involvement.


Upon successful completion of the UTRGV Food Handler Training, a participant shall be issued a two-year digital certificate or clip-on badge through Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management. Proof of certification should be displayed at all times during the food-related event.


Campus food booth operators should always be prepared for a food handler audit that may be conducted by either EHSRM or the city’s Code Enforcement department. The inspector will use the checklist below and may ask additional questions regarding basic food safety practices. All personnel handling or preparing food are expected to have valid training records on file. After EHSRM staff have processed the report, a copy is submitted to the organization leader as well as Student Involvement.

Program Documents

Fight Germs by Washing Your Hands!

Combata los gérmenes. ¡Lávese las manos! (Fight Germs by Washing Your Hands! - Spanish)

Food Safety Audit Checklist

UTRGV Food Safety Handout 

Cooking Temperatures 

UTRGV Summer Food Safety Handout


U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Texas Food Establishment Rules – Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) – Partnership for Food Safety Education – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Food Safety and Inspection Service 

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