Consumer Resources

As an independent global health and safety organization, NSF International tests and certifies products and writes standards for the food, water and consumer goods industries. Founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation, we changed our name to NSF International in 1990 as we expanded our services worldwide. The letters NSF do not represent any specific words today.

Safer Food Storage of Leftovers

It’s National Grilling Month! NSF International surveyed 1,000 Americans to determine awareness and misconceptions of food safety in the home including storage of leftovers. About 47 percent responded that they stored leftovers for three to four days. Do you know how long your leftovers should be stored?

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  • Open What's the best bottled water to drink?

    While there is no ratings system for bottled water, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established official standards of identify for bottled water. The most common bottled water types include:

    Drinking Water - Can originate from a variety sources, including public water supplies. It may undergo additional treatment, such as disinfection or filtration.

    Purified Water - Is produced through reverse osmosis, deionization or distillation so that it meets the definition of purified water in the United States Pharmacopoeia. The amount of metals and minerals in purified water is usually lower than in other types of bottled water.

    Spring Water - Comes from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface. It can contain minerals and other substances that occur naturally in the area from which the water is being drawn.

    Mineral Water - Comes from an underground formation that is physically and geologically protected. Similar to spring water, it can contain minerals and other substances that occur naturally in the area from which the water is being drawn. No minerals may be added to it.

    Keep in mind that terms such as pure or natural are advertising terms and do not indicate the quality of the product. If you are unsure which type of bottled water would be best for you, you may want to consult with a registered dietician or other health care provider to see if they can help make a recommendation.

  • Open How does NSF evaluate food storage containers for home use?

    When evaluating food storage containers under NSF Protocol P386 – Food Storage Containers for Home Use, NSF’s public health specialists look at the design and construction of each container to make sure that it is easily cleanable and produced from food-safe materials. NSF also reviews product packaging and substantiates other marketing and label claims being made by the manufacturer.

    A list of food storage containers that are currently NSF certified can be found in the consumer products database.

  • Open Are plastic pipes safe for drinking water use?

    Plastic pipes that have been tested and certified to NSF/ANSI 61: Drinking Water System Components are considered safe for potable water contact. Products that have been NSF certified to this standard will display one of the following certification marks:  NSF-pw or NSF-61.

    A list of plastic plumbing products certified by NSF for both potable water and other engineering specifications can be found in the NSF plumbing products database, while products certified only for potable water contact can be found in the NSF drinking water system components database.

  • Open What does it mean when a supplement is NSF certified?

    Dietary supplements are evaluated under NSF/ANSI 173: Dietary Supplements to confirm that they actually contain the ingredients and quantities shown on the label as well as to make sure they do not contain excessive levels of impurities like heavy metals or pesticides. NSF also audits each company’s production sites to confirm they are following the good manufacturing practices (GMPs) set forth for their industry. Certification must be renewed annually to ensure each product continues to comply with all requirements to maintain product certification.

    Visit the NSF online database for a full list of NSF certified supplements.

  • Open What does NSF certification of home water treatment systems cover?

    NSF certification of home water treatment covers four major areas:

    Structural integrity. Systems (and some components such as housings) intended for direct connection to a water service undergo pressure testing to confirm they won’t crack or leak when installed on a pressurized water line.

    Material safety. Certified systems (and components such as filter media and housings) undergo extraction testing to determine if they introduce any impurities into the water that could pose a health risk. American National Standards limit the amount of impurities that certified systems can introduce based on U.S. EPA or Health Canada drinking water standards, whichever is more strict.

    Performance testing. We test assembled systems to verify that the finished product is effective at reducing the contaminants claimed on the product label. Testing is done on a pass/fail basis.

    Label claims. We also verify the accuracy of product packaging and labeling to confirm it does not contain any untrue or misleading statements. We verify that percentage reduction claims on the product packaging match our official test results.

  • Open What's the best way to package leftovers for food safety and preservation?

    The most important thing when packaging leftovers is to get them down to a safe storage temperature as quickly as possible. If you don’t plan to eat the leftovers within three days, it’s best to freeze them. Storing leftovers in vacuum-sealed containers can help prevent freezer burn, while using tightly sealed containers in the refrigerator can help prevent accidental spillage as well as reduce the chance that odors from other foods will affect the food’s quality.

  • Open Where can I get a certificate confirming a product is NSF certified?

    NSF International doesn’t issue certificates or other documents as proof of NSF certification for most individual products. Rather, proof of NSF certification is provided by listing the product on our website. Because certification is an ongoing process that must be renewed annually, our online listings can change daily.

  • Open What does the term organic mean?

    Organic refers to a product produced without using conventional pesticides, irradiation or fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or bioengineering. For example, organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products can only be produced from animals that are not given antibiotics or growth hormones and are fed 100 percent organic feed. Organic doesn’t necessarily mean that a product is free of something, but rather that it has been produced without using prohibited methods.

  • Open What is the best way to handle and store water treatment chemicals?

    If you only use your pool or spa seasonally, make sure to check your supply of water treatment chemicals before you start the pool opening process each year to make sure you have everything you need. Check the expiration dates on each product and replace any outdated chemicals. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each product and store chemicals in a cool, dry area out of the reach of children.

  • Open Where can I find a list of certified septic tank effluent filters?

    Septic tank effluent filters are a relatively inexpensive way of preventing solids discharge into the septic field. They are usually installed at the outlet of the septic tank, collecting solids that may be discharged from the tank. A list of NSF-certified septic tank effluent filters is available in the NSF wastewater products database.

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