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CFPM & ServSafe FAQ

Learn more about the process of becoming a Certified Food Protection Manager, renewing your license, or ServSafe Certification.


Need Someone to Answer your CFPM and ServSafe Questions for Free?

Contact Chef Arlene Coco!


Phone: 218-269-7979

Need to be Certified or Looking to Renew your license?

What is a CFPM License?

CFPM stands for Certified Food Protection Manager. Certified Food Protection Manager licenses are a state-required certification on food safety required for staff that work in restaurants and other food service businesses. Many people also refer to a Certified Food Protection Manager license as a food handler's license, food handler's certification, food server certification, foodservice sanitation certification, or even as a food license. It is a critical food safety license for many businesses. The process of being certified usually includes an 8- to 10-hour course on food safety followed by an exam and some paperwork with the state's health agency. However, while this license shares a common name across states, the requirements for certification change based on the state requiring the certification, so check with your state government about specific requirements. This FAQ also contains more specific information on Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

What is a ServSafe Certification?

ServSafe is a brand-name set of food safety training education materials that is a top choice for training for a Certified Food Protection Manager license. The course must be taught by a ServSafe Registered Instructor and certifies the student as a ServSafe Manager. Courses generally include instructional materials (including a ServSafe Manager textbook), a ServSafe exam, and a certificate of examination that can be used to file the necessary paperwork with your state's health department. The ServSafe program is offered by many vendors around the country. However, it's good to find an instructor who will be able to provide you the service you need to navigate the certification process — such as ServSafe Instructor and Chef Arlene Coco. Many large vendors simply do not provide the same level of service.

ServSafe, Serve Safe, or Safe Serve?

While we hope that all Certified Food Protection Manager trainings would help you to serve safely, ServSafe is a brand-name set of trainings. The name of the program is ServSafe, not Serve Safe or Safe Serve.

Are ServSafe or Certified Food Protection Manager trainings available free online?

Because of the effort, skill, and education needed to create a health-department approved Certified Food Protection Manager training, the need to purchase course materials, and the work involved with the actual teaching, there are no free courses available. However, Arlene's rates are competitive with those offered by other companies and can be offered in an online or in-person format.

How are Minnesota's Certified Food Protection Manager requirements different from Wisconsin and Michigan's requirements?

Arlene only teaches Certified Food Protection Manager training in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, so she can't speak for the requirements in all states. All three states have similar requirements from the curriculum and Arlene's programs are approved by the health departments in all three states. However, it's important to note that Minnesota offers a recertification process that is different from Wisconsin and Michigan. In Minnesota, licenses expire three years after certification while licenses in Wisconsin and Michigan last for five years. However, Minnesota Certified Food Protection Managers can take a recertification course every three years that can be completed in roughly half the time of a normal course. As long as recertification is completed prior to the expiration of the license, Minnesota Certified Food Protection Managers do not need to take an exam to renew their license. In Wisconsin and Michigan, a full set of training and an exam is required every five years to keep a Certified Food Protection Manager license.

Need to take a class for the first time?
Need to renew your license?

Arlene Coco can help you to get the training you need to be a Certified Food Protection Manager. I run my own business and instruction, which means you can talk to the same person from start to finish and have me guide you through the process. If you have any questions, please reach out: my email is, and my phone is 218-269-7979. You can learn about my career as a chef below.

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