Bryan Cohen Jul. 8, 2014, 6:05pm

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced an agreement on Monday with an Oregon-based online food service training company that allegedly misled workers and engaged in deceptive business practices.

eFoodhandlers Inc. offers online training and certification to food service workers. The company's website allegedly misled food service workers into believing that eFoodhandlers' certification satisfied the requirements for handling food in the state of Washington. The only entity approved by the Washington State Department of Health to provide online certification and training for food handling is the Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health Department.

eFoodhandlers allegedly charged $10 for a certificate, as well as added fees for other services. The company allegedly provided training to more than 23,000 Washington consumers and charged more than 11,000 consumers for inadequate certificates.

"Consumers paid for a worthless piece of paper," Ferguson said. "eFoodhandlers' deceptive practices made it difficult for food service workers to keep a job and businesses to stay open. My office will not tolerate deceptive business practices."

Under the terms of a consent decree, eFoodhandlers must pay full restitution of approximately $120,000 to the consumers who paid for the services. eFoodhandlers also agreed to pay Ferguson's office $40,000 for attorney costs and remove the certification service from its website.

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