Food Equipment Standards/Certification

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Certification
  • Standards
  • Food Shields
  • Why Work With NSF?
  • Certification Process
  • Trade Associations

NSF standards and certification serve as the benchmarks by which all commercial foodservice equipment products are measured. In fact, NSF originally brought together key stakeholders back in the 1940s to develop the first consensus standards for restaurant equipment sanitation. Public health inspectors liked what they saw, and began requiring product certification to NSF/ANSI standards.

Today, U.S. requirements for NSF standards certification are so prevalent that it is virtually impossible to build a new restaurant or commercial kitchen without NSF. It is the most specified certification, and the most recognized mark in the industry.

Benefits of Certification

In the restaurant and commercial foodservice industries, NSF certification assures market compliance for food equipment. It is the certification mark most recognized and most specified by buyers. It signifies to customers and regulators that your products have been tested by an independent third party, are certified to the industry’s highest standards and meet all applicable North American regulatory requirements.

In global markets, NSF testing and certification can facilitate product acceptance in countries you export to as well. Tell us where your growth plans are taking you, and NSF can help you get there.


Nearly 70 years ago, NSF International brought key industry stakeholders together to facilitate the development of the first consensus standards for restaurant foodservice equipment. Since then, NSF has jointly developed over 75 standards and certified thousands of products as safe to use in commercial food settings.

See the complete list of NSF/ANSI food equipment standards. NSF food equipment standards include requirements for material safety, to ensure the product will not leach harmful chemicals into food; design and construction, to ensure the product is cleanable and is not likely to harbor bacteria; and product performance. NSF certification to these standards also includes audits of the production facility to ensure the product is made using good manufacturing practices.

Food Shields

NSF/ANSI 2 – 2014 was published in May 2014, with modifications to section 5.35 for food shields. This section of the standard was updated to meet current industry needs for specific types of food shields and to clarify the intent of the requirements.

For more information on installing NSF/ANSI 2 certified food shields, please visit the Food Shields webpage.

Why Work With NSF?

NSF is the premier choice for food equipment sanitation certification, offering the complete package of field acceptance, service and technical expertise with every certification.

  • Acceptance – NSF certification assures acceptance by U.S. state and local regulatory agencies and global recognition of the NSF mark.
  • Service – As an NSF client, you are assigned a single point of contact who learns your product and business needs and works to make your certification as efficient and cost effective as possible. This could include bundled complementary services such as electrical safety or energy efficiency certification, which saves you money and improves your time to market.
  • Technical Expertise – As the standards developer and most experienced certifier, NSF’s technical knowledge is unparalleled. Our knowledge and experience enable quicker certifications that give you confidence in the field.

Certification Process

Being the innovators of this certification program has given NSF nearly seven decades to refine and simplify our certification process. We can provide a thorough and efficient food equipment certification in just five simple steps, led by a single point of contact with the technical expertise and dedication to expedite your certification:

  1. Application
  2. Product evaluation
  3. Certification/listing
  4. Manufacturing facility audit
  5. Annual compliance verification

Trade Associations

NSF International has created agreements with commercial food equipment manufacturer trade associations in Italy, Germany and Spain that allow their members to work closely with NSF specialists and better understand the NSF sanitation standards and the requirements for NSF certification.

Assofoodtec, the Italian association of manufacturers of machines and equipment used to produce, process and preserve food products, represents the most important association in the Italian sector. Aside from technical activities, Assofoodtec also develops promotional activities and promotes itself as the most qualified in the market with regulators and national and international partners.

AFEHC is a non-profit organization whose aim is to increase the international exposure of Spanish manufacturers of equipment for the hotel, restaurant and catering industry. The association is made up of more than 70 companies, including the leading Spanish manufacturers of equipment for the catering and hospitality industry.

HKI, a German organization, represents the interests of catering equipment manufacturers and of the producers of domestic heating and cooking appliances. In addition to individual advice on all economic and technical questions, HKI services include representing the interests of manufacturers toward public authorities, cooperating with all relevant institutions and branch associations on national, European and international levels, and participating in the official foreign fair program of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Benefits for Members of These Trade Associations

  • Certification of new products
    All trade association members will receive special benefits when certifying new products. 
  • In-house training
    NSF arranges specific in-house training by qualified members of the NSF team at a special price.

The training is in English and can be linked to a pre-evaluation of a new machine if requested.

  • Pre-evaluation service
    A pre-evaluation service on new machines or prototypes to pre-review compliance to NSF standards is offered to all members, charged at a fixed cost plus (if applicable) travel expenses. During tradeshows where NSF technical personnel are present, a verbal pre-evaluation can be completed free of charge.
  • Annual seminar
    Upon request, NSF can offer, free of charge, custom seminars to trade association members. The seminar may be technical in content, sales and marketing oriented, or related to NSF’s range of new services, depending on the target audience.
  • Reduced rates for public workshops
    All members will benefit from a special registration fee for the public workshops.

For more information on these benefits contact your trade association or NSF International.

Contact NSF International

  • Mailing List

  • Or contact the nearest NSF location
  • [x] Close

See all related news

  • Open Who accredits NSF to develop standards?

    NSF is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), in accordance with ISO/IEC Guide 65. ANSI’s role includes approving key policy documents, reviewing the evaluation process, making accreditation decisions and monitoring/auditing programs.

  • Open How are NSF/ANSI food equipment standards developed?

    The standards development process involves balanced input from industry representatives, public health/regulatory officials and users/consumer representatives. The groups work together to determine requirements for the consensus standard, including test methods if necessary. After a standard is published, the group reconvenes occasionally or as needed if significant changes have occurred with the product type or regulatory industry.

See all related Q&A

  • We’ve worked with NSF for 18 years and have had almost all our products NSF certified. The widely accepted NSF mark, easy-to-navigate listings and dedication of our project manager have saved us time and money, and helped our products stand out.Jim Tuyls, Automatic Bar Controls
  • A customer directed us to get NSF certification and we were blown away by the seamless and stress-free experience. Our dedicated project manager delivered fast and personable service, often addressing our questions and concerns within a few hours!Steve Welter, Watlow Electric Manufacturing