The New Health Card


Did the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention when you heard that the Southern Nevada Health District no longer requires food handlers and bartenders to have the same health cards they’ve always had? Rest easy.

After more than a year of meetings with its Environmental Health Division, its Office of Epidemiology, the Nevada Resort Association and the Nevada Restaurant Association, the health district replaced the former food-handler “health card” with a more stringent Food Handler Safety Training and Certification Program. Food handlers still need a card to ferry food (now called the Food Handler Safety Training card), but the new training program better addresses contemporary food-handling practices to prevent foodborne illness.

“The [former health card] program was introduced 50 years ago,” health district public information officer Stephanie Bethel says. “What we wanted to do when we changed the program was make training more relevant to [today’s] food handlers, and enhance food safety.”

The online training costs $20 and can be completed in about two hours. Applicants must pass a test to earn the card, which costs $20 more. (For applicants who don’t have computer access, a kiosk is available by appointment at the North Las Vegas public-health center, and the Health District’s Valley View center has a computer lab.)

The health district also no longer requires a hepatitis A immunization to obtain a card. The rationale for the change, Bethel says, is that most people receive the vaccination during childhood, and it’s “pretty well documented that the risks are minimal” for foodborne outbreaks of the disease.