Have you ever seen the above symbol on a product? Do you know what it means? It’s the logo for NSF International, which is a global organization responsible for product testing, inspection, and certification. Anybody working in the food service industry should know a little about the NSF because of its major presence in the industry.
What is NSF International?
NSF International, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., was founded in 1944 and was originally known as the National Sanitation Foundation. The organization’s name was changed in 1990 after it expanded into the global market and added services that went beyond sanitation.
An independent, accredited organization, NSF International is trusted by manufacturers, regulating entities, and consumers to develop public health standards and certification programs. The organization’s mission is to promote human health by protecting food, water, and consumer products.
What Does NSF International Do?
NSF International’s staff includes engineers, microbiologists, toxicologists, chemists, public health experts, and certification specialists. The group has created a series of well-documented standards for a variety of different products, including food service equipment and supplies. The organization has become the go-to testing and certification authority for companies in the food service industry, as well as a number of other industries.
Many companies turn to NSF International to get their products certified, which requires thorough inspections and vigorous testing. The organization reviews results and decides whether to certify the product and allow it to bear the NSF seal or if changes to the product are required first. Certified products are also subject to future inspection to ensure they still meet standards.
Is NSF Certification Essential?
Because NSF International has such a positive reputation, it is certainly good for a product’s image to be NSF certified. In some cases, it can have a positive impact on the product’s sales. However, the quality of a product should not be judged solely on whether or not it is certified.
It is important for caterers and other food service professionals to consider products’ uses with consumer safety in mind. If the product comes into direct contact with food, you may have more peace of mind if it is certified. But for products like portable sanitation equipment (sinks, toilets, hand sanitizers, etc.) that don’t contact food, certification isn’t as critical.
Consider health departments and similar entities, as well. If your business practices and equipment meet the requirements of those groups, you can be at ease. Their goal is to keep consumers safe, and if they aren’t worried, you shouldn’t be worried.
At the end of the day, NSF certification is a positive endorsement of a product. But there are plenty of uncertified products that receive great reviews on the market. As a buyer, it’s up to you to decide how important NSF certification is when planning a purchase.
To learn more about NSF International, visit www.nsf.org. In addition, SINKSNMORE provides a variety of resources for the food service industry. Visit FoodSinksTB.com to download a FREE Health Department Compliance Bulletin or request a FREE Handwashing Compliance sign.
You can also get 10% Off on All Online Orders when you use promo code FS2017TB.