Kitchen Manager Certification and Food Safety

EHS-Net Recommends

Certification of kitchen managers may affect foodborne illness risk factors in many ways. Some ways are better management and better on-the-job training. More research is needed to fully understand this link.

We need to know the links between certification and food temperature and time control. We also need to know the links between certification and plumbing, water, and sewage. Training in these areas may need to be improved.

Food-safety programs and restaurants should consider encouraging or requiring certification of kitchen managers.

Why This Study Was Done

Certified kitchen managers (CKMs) have passed a test to show knowledge of food safety. It is believed that CKMs are better able to control factors that can lead to foodborne illness. But research on the link between kitchen manager certification and restaurant food safety is conflicting. Thus, it is important to collect quality data to help understand that link.

Photo of chefs preparing food in a kitchen.

What the Study Described

The purpose of this study was to look at links between restaurant food-safety inspections and certification of kitchen managers.

What the Study Found

EHS-Net found that restaurants with kitchen managers certified in food safety were less likely to have critical violations on their inspections.

Critical violations in six areas were less likely in restaurants with a CKM than in restaurants without a CKM:

  • Staff.
  • Food source and handling.
  • Warewashing.
  • Facility and equipment.
  • Hot holding.
  • Other operations.

Critical violations in five areas were equally likely in restaurants with and without a CKM:

  • Plumbing, water, and sewage.
  • Cooling.
  • Cold holding.
  • Cooking temperatures,
  • Reheating,

Critical violations in most areas were less likely in restaurants:

  • That mainly served liquor than in those that mainly served food.
  • With lower incomes than in those with higher incomes.
  • That served fast food than in those with full service.
Key Terms
  • Certified kitchen manager (CKM): manager who passed a test to show knowledge of food safety.
  • Cold holding: keeping cold food at a specific temperature to reduce germ growth.
  • Critical violations: violations found during restaurant inspections that are more likely to lead to foodborne illness.
  • Inspection: regular visit to see how well restaurants follow local food safety rules.
  • Hot holding: keeping hot food at a specific temperature to reduce germ growth.
  • Temperature and time control: using temperature or time to reduce germ growth in food. For example, food can be kept refrigerated or it can be held at higher temperatures for no more than 4 hours.
What Is EHS-Net?

This study was conducted by the Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net). EHS-Net is a federally funded collaboration of federal, state, and local environmental health specialists and epidemiologists working to better understand the environmental causes of foodborne illness.

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Page last reviewed: June 11, 2019