If you’re in the commercial foodservice industry, chances are you’ve seen a little round blue NSF certification mark on some of your equipment or smallwares. In this article, I will explain "what is NSF" and discuss benefits of purchasing NSF certified products for your foodservice operation.
What does NSF stand for?
NSF, National Sanitation Foundation, is a non-profit organization founded in 1944, whose goal was to create standards for food safety and sanitation to promote public health. When you purchase NSF certified foodservice products, it means:
- The manufacturer of foodservice products uses only FDA approved raw materials
- Products passed numerous NSF testing for material safety, design, construction, and product performance
- A guarantee that harmful chemicals won’t seep into and contaminate the food of your customers
- Products are commercial dishwasher safe and will not likely harbor bacteria
What does NSF certification mean for a foodservice operator?
NSF’s restaurant standards and certification programs lead the market in technical expertise, credibility, and acceptance worldwide. When it comes to health codes, federal, state, and local regulations now are often set based on current NSF standards. However, not everyone in foodservice industry knows about NSF.
NSF doesn't advertise on the local street level and the foodservice industry doesn't have a mandate that says that all products touching consumers' food must be NSF certified. Most national chains understand the importance of customers trust and take the responsibility on themselves to ensure that all products used in their facilities are NSF certified which will, in turn, ensure that their customers are safe.
Brands set the standard, not the foodservice industry. Manufacturer chooses to invest into NSF certification because they know that raw material and production standards will be upheld and they can stand behind their products quality. Resellers choose NSF certified products because they want to deliver safe products for their customers. Foodservice operators choose NSF certified products because they care about their name and reputation and want to be sure their customers are safe.
Here is a list of benefits NSF certification can bring to your foodservice operation:
- Satisfaction in knowing your operation is in adherence to food safety regulations
- Establishes validation of operator’s commitment to safety and quality
- Increases credibility and distinguishes your operation from competitors
- Guarantees your foodservice products will be free of harmful chemicals
- Positive brand exposure
- Confidence and trust in your brand by customers
- Peace of mind
But wait, not all foodservice products can be NSF certified?
Not all foodservice products commonly used in the industry can be NSF certified. For example, porous materials, which include glass, glass-like materials, porcelain and porcelain enamels cannot be NSF certified and shall not be used in a good zone (touching food) according to NSF standard 36, page 2, volume 2012.
How do I know the foodservice products I buy are NSF certified?
The simplest way to learn whether the product you use is NSF certified is to look for the NSF logo on the bottom of your foodservice item. There is also an official list available that lists all NSF certified products on NSF website.
NSF certification and G.E.T. philosophy
NSF certification process is rigorous and costly. Having just one product tested for NSF certification could start at $1,500. The overall process depends on the product/line, process or service being certified, and the type of certification.
This lengthy procedure includes product evaluation, extensive product lab testing, a manufacturing facility inspection, production confirmation, and product sampling. After a product is certified, NSF will conduct periodic facility audits and product retesting to verify that the product continues to comply with its standards.
Because we believe in providing top quality products to our customers, G.E.T. goes the extra mile to make sure that our products, where applicable, are NSF certified. All of our melamine products have been tested and certified as being safe to use in foodservice. Although it's costly, providing our customers with NSF certified safe products is important to us and our brand and we're proud to make our customers' reputations and the safety of their customers our priority.