So What Exactly is NSF International?

Last updated on November 10th, 2023 at 03:38 pm

If you have commercial grade kitchen equipment and supplies, you’ve probably seen the NSF international logo on many of your products. But do you know what it means to have an NSF certified product?

Not to be confused with the National Science Foundation, the foodservice related NSF does not stand for anything today, although in the past this acronym stood for the National Sanitation Foundation.

NSF International logo

What is NSF International?  

NSF International is a not-for-profit organization that inspects and tests a variety of products to ensure that they meet adequate standards of safety. “Manufacturers, regulators and consumers alike look to NSF International for the development of public health standards and certification that help protect the world’s food, water, health and consumer products.” (NSF, About Us)

What is NSF International Certification? 

A Product that is certified or listed means that NSF has determined that a tested product meets NSF’s standards of safety. Only after a product is certified can a manufacturer use the NSF Mark.

What does it mean to have an NSF product?

Products stamped with an NSF logo go through rigorous testing to make sure they’re safe. Furthermore, state and local regulatory agencies (i.e. health inspectors) accept these products. 

Keep in mind also that NSF Certification is not a one-time activity. Periodically performed tests ensure that a product will continue to meet standards after the first certification.

Are all commercial kitchen supplies NSF approved? 

No. Not all supplies get the NSF mark of approval.

Keep in mind, certain items must be certified to pass health inspections, such as Refrigerators, Ice Machines, and Freezers. Countertops, prep tables, and anything that’s regularly sanitized has to be certified as well.

Make sure to check with your insurance provider to see what products they require to be NSF certified, as they may not cover damages caused by a non-certified product.

Learn more about food safety regulations in this blog:

Learn about the must-know food safety regulations in the food industry at

What commercial products are NSF certified?

Many of the items that you find in your restaurants kitchen are NSF certified. This list includes

  • Warewashing Equipment, Detergent and Chemical Feeders for Commercial Spray-Type Dishwashing Machines
  • Ice Machines,  Automatic Ice Making Equipment
  • Refrigerators, Storage Freezers, Dispensing Freezers
  • Cooking, Rethermalization and Powered Hot Food Holding and Transport Equipment, Mobile Food Carts
  • Water Heaters, Hot Water Supply Boilers, and Heat Recovery Equipment
  • Commercial Powered Food Preparation Equipment
  • Refuse Processors and Processing Systems
  • Manual Food and Beverage Dispensing Equipment, Commercial Bulk Milk Dispensing Equipment, Vending Machines For Food and Beverages
  • Thermoplastic Refuse Containers, Air Curtains for Entrance ways in Food and Food Service Establishments
  • High Pressure Decorative Laminates for Surfacing Food Service Equipment
  • Dinnerware, Oven Mitts Used in Commercial Food Service
  • Food Equipment, Food Equipment Materials,  Supplemental Flooring, Special Purpose Food Equipment and Devices,
  • Disposable Food Contact Gloves
  • Code of Practice on Cleanability of Commercial Food Equipment Used in the Retail and Catering Sector

Does NSF International offer classes to train my employees?

Yes. NSF offers numerous training and educational classes such as Food Equipment Sanitation Certification and Kitchen Products Certification. If you have over 6 people who need to be trained, NSF provides cost-effective onsite training. They also offer customized programs. For more information, contact NSF directly:

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