Food Protection Manager – Certification Process

By taking the 8-hour class and passing the certification exam you become “ServSafe certified” – meaning you passed the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification exam, showing you have enough book knowledge to run your food business in a way that you can make good decisions to keep the food safe. The only way to re-certify your ServSafe is to take the exam every five (5) years.

Most states now require that at least one person (usually a manager) who can influence the flow of food in the kitchen has a certificate from one of the approved test companies. There are several choices, but we currently use ServSafe as it is most widely recognized and it meets the needs of all our customers.

Some states centralize the state certification process and require you to send a copy of the certificate to them to validate that you met the requirement. Then your health inspector doesn’t have to worry about which certificate works, they only have to look for one. Other states leave it to the inspector to make the determination during their inspection.

Wisconsin and Iowa

Post your in-force Certified Food Protection Manager certificate in a place that allows for Public viewing.


The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) requires a person to file an in-force Certified Food Protection Manager certificate from one of the ANSI-approved testing companies such as ServSafe, within six months of the date of Examination as printed on the certificate.

MN CFPM Certification – Initial Registration

If you have never been a Registered Minnesota CFPM

  1. Attend a FSG Initial ServSafe Food Manager Training Course and pass the ServSafe Food Manager examination*.
  2. Download and complete MN CFPM Initial Registration Application *
  3. Mail initial application, copy of exam certificate and $35 fee to:

PO Box 64495
St. Paul, MN 55164-0495

* Apply for an Initial Minnesota CFPM Registration card no more than six months after passing the exam. 

MN CFPM Certification – Registration Renewal

MN CFPM Registrations expire three years from the effective date printed on the MDH Registration Certificate. To renew certification:

  1. Complete four or more hours of approved renewal training within the effective dates of the valid certificate.
  2. Download and complete MN CFPM Registration Renewal Application *
  3. Mail renewal application, approved training certificate(s) and $35 fee to:

PO Box 64495
St. Paul, MN 55164-0495

* Apply for renewal no more than six months after the expiration date printed on the MDH certificate.

Initial class

The 8-hour course uses the ServSafe book and materials by the National Restaurant Association. This course will absolutely satisfy the requirements for any state that necessitates management certification. We teach the full day and then give the exam at the end.

We don’t sell you short on class time. We go through the materials with two things in mind: your certification test at the end of the day and your ability to comply with your health department when you run your business. We are forbidden from looking at test questions and from teaching to the test. We take that seriously.

Recertification Class

To renew your certification status in Iowa and Wisconsin, the requirement is to pass the exam again. That means in these states every 5 years you will need to take the ServSafe exam (or equivalent) and pass. In Wisconsin we offer these options for you: test only; read the book and test or sit in the class and test; and the book, class, and test.

In Minnesota you are not required to take the test again, but you must engage in ongoing education to maintain your state certificate. You must have 4 hours of class time within 3 years of the expiration date printed on your state certificate to renew your state certificate. Most people will come to one of our already scheduled classes and attend the 4 hours in the morning. FoodSafetyGuy instructors are all qualified to sign your 4-hour certificate to submit to the state.

 Prior to registering for this class, please verify you meet the criteria set by the state of Minnesota for CFPM Registration. You can do this by entering your name in to the Minnesota Department of Health’s “Search for Certified Food Protection Managers in Minnesota” and search the current database to confirm you are registered with the state of Minnesota. You cannot apply for a renewal if you are not listed – if your listing appears in RED you cannot submit for renewal as this indicates your MN CFPM Registration has already expired. Once you verify you are current with the State of Minnesota, you can register for our Re-Certification class by providing your FM# and expiry date of your current MN CFPM Registration. If you do not meet the necessary criteria for renewal, please register as an Initial Certification student.


Class FAQsHow long is each class?

  • Class hours are from 8:00 am- 4:30 pm, test immediately follows;
  • Recertification 8:00-noon.
  • Test only, come by 3:00, test at 4:30.

Where is class held?

  • You will receive an email with the exact location of the class at the time you register.

What should I bring?

Initial Certification

  • Photo ID: You must have a picture ID to be able to take the exam.
  • Book with Answer Sheet: Contact me if your book does not have an answer sheet inside the front cover. We will have to make arrangements to have one for you.


  • Old Book: If you have your old book around, bring it along. You might decide you need to update.

Retest/Test Only

  • Photo ID: You must have a picture ID to be able to take the exam.
  • Answer Sheet: If you do not have an answer sheet we will have to provide one for you.

Business Cards

  • Classes are great for networking!

What is your refund policy?

  • Please call or email by 9:00 am on the class day.
  • Every effort will be made to match you up with an appropriate replacement class in the event of a company or student emergency, turnover, or class cancellation.
  • If a credit can not be used we will refund the cost of the registration, less class materials (book) and postage, if sent.
  • Refunds are made upon request prior to the day of the class.
  • No call, no show, no refund.
  • Emergencies on the day of the class will be addressed as needed.

How Many CFPMs Do I Need?

Ask yourself the following questions:

What is the state requirement?

State requirements vary. Sometimes a local requirement is more stringent than what the state requires. Check with your state’s Health Department website or your inspecting sanitarian. Some of the links most of my clients need are on my site.

What does the parent corporation require?

Some corporations have requirements that exactly match the states they are in while some have a different approach to the training and certification. Check with your parent corporation to understand their policies and procedures.

How often will my CFPM be on site?

Responsibilities vary with job descriptions.

Have you chosen the right person to be certified?

The closer you get to immediate supervision of the flow of your food, the better chance you can eliminate or control risks to the food.

How is my management tenure?

In the event you find yourself without a CFPM on staff, there is generally a short grace period to get that person replaced or train someone else. If you are seeing lack of a CFPM on repeat health inspections, you probably want to invest a little and make sure that does not happen the next time. 

Whatever your need and staffing, it is the goal of Food Safety Guy to make it as easy as possible for you to be compliant with your state, your parent company, or your own comfort level.