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How to Apply For A Food Handler's Permit in Jamaica

According to the Public Health Food Handling Regulation of 1998, no person including an operator can be employed in or assist in a food handling establishment unless he or she is the holder of a valid food handler’s permit.


Whether you wish to start your own business in any type of restaurant or hotel; before you can legally operate your business you will need a food handler’s permit.


If you are attending HEART or any other culinary institution, as a student you will need to apply for a permit. Persons who are operators of food establishments, chefs, butchers, merchandisers, bakers, waitresses, food vendors, etc. must have a valid food handler’s permit.


To get a new application started you must pay a visit to any one of the thirteen health departments in Jamaica and take the following items with you:


1. Valid TRN

2. Valid form of National ID

3. Two passport-size pictures (notarized by a JP)

4. $500 (examination fee)


You should be ready to fill out an application form (see a copy of the form below).

You will also be asked to take a blood test.

You must then make an appointment to attend a Food Handler’s Training session and sit an examination which will test your knowledge of basic hygiene and sanitation principles. You must score a 70% or higher pass to be deemed successful.


NB. If you are a student with a valid student ID who is currently enrolled in a course, you pay a reduced fee of $300. The permit will last for the duration of your course. All other permits are valid for one year.


If your application is successful, depending on the parish, your permit should be ready to be collected in two to six weeks.


While you are waiting for your permit, you can request a letter stating that you are trained and certified as a food handler to operate in that capacity.

FYI: The Food Handlers Permit must be renewed each year by completing the same procedure. For renewals, you must carry the previous permit with you.

Below is the list of locations for the Department of Health. Contact the one nearest to you.

Department of Health Locations in Jamaica
Download PDF • 48KB

Below is a copy of the Food Handler's Permit Application Form you can download and complete.

Food Handlers Permit-Form 5
Download PDF • 5KB

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