Mission and History

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For more than 75 years, our mission has been to protect and improve global human health.

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Our Mission

For more than 75 years, our mission has remained the same: protect and improve human health. Our mission is carried out by nearly 3,000 global employees, including microbiologists, toxicologists, chemists, engineers, and environmental and public health professionals.

Our Values

Most fundamental to achieving our mission—and underpinning everything we do—is building a healthy culture and looking after our people. Everything, not least client focus and growth, is built upon this. Our culture starts with the following four core values: Do the Right Thing; Treat People Well; Relentlessly Pursue Excellence; and We Are One NSF. These core values are the principles that guide all of NSF’s actions. They can never be compromised, either for convenience or short-term gain.

Our History

Our beginning: NSF was founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation. Using a transparent, consensus-based process, we developed our first standards for the sanitation of soda fountain and luncheonette equipment in the early 1950s. This became the process by which we develop all of our public health and safety standards.

Our name: As we expanded services beyond sanitation and into global markets, we changed our name to NSF in 1990. The letters NSF honor our original name.

Our process: To develop uniform, consensus-based national standards, we bring together regulators, industry, consumers and public health experts. Our scientists, engineers and public health professionals test to these standards or protocols.

We have more than 75 currently active public health and safety American National Standards and 95 published protocols for appliances, food equipment, drinking water filters and other products. Products that meet these standards bear the NSF mark.


The following timeline takes you through NSF's history, step by step:


  • Walter Snyder, Henry Vaughan and Nathan Sinai found the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) in the University of Michigan School of Public Health.


  • The National Sanitation Foundation Testing Laboratory (NSFTL) is chartered and the food equipment program starts. In addition, NSF establishes the Council of Public Health Consultants.
  • We introduce the first food equipment standards, NSF Standards 1 and 2.


  • The pool, spa and hot tub products certification program starts.


  • NSF opens regional offices.


  • The plastics piping and wastewater treatment programs start.


  • NSF Testing Laboratories becomes a not-for-profit corporation.


  • The biosafety cabinetry program starts with an award from the National Institutes of Health.


  • NSF creates the water treatment and distribution systems program to assist the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to improve drinking water standards. A majority of U.S. states now require drinking water products, such as plastics, plumbing and water filters, be certified to NSF standards.


  • The bottled water program starts. The Health Advisory Board is established.


  • The drinking water additives program starts with a cooperative agreement from the U.S. EPA.
  • NSF opens European headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.


  • NSF and NSF Testing Laboratories merge to form NSF.
  • Company name changes from National Sanitation Foundation to NSF.


  • ISO 9000 program starts. NSF receives accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and establishes networking agreements with KIWA (The Netherlands), JIA (Japan and Korea) and Jenny Hung (Taiwan, R.O.C.).


  • NSF receives accreditation from Netherlands-based Raad voor Accreditatie (RvA).


  • NSF establishes a networking agreement with IMTA (Mexico).


  • NSF-ISR is established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of NSF.
  • NSF establishes a joint certification agreement with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
  • NSF is designated as a Collaborating Center on Drinking Water Safety and Treatment by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2014, NSF is also designated as a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.


  • The Center for Public Health Education at NSF, a new division of NSF, is founded.
  • NSF establishes a partnership with WRc in London. New state-of-the-art headquarters and labs are completed in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  • Nairobi office moves to Cairo, Egypt.


  • NSF acquires Cook & Thurber, LLC, a provider of process-based product safety and quality audits for the food, beverage, animal feed and packaging industries and now provides additional food safety audits (e.g. NSF supplier assurance audits).
  • NSF launches a testing and certification program for dietary supplements to certify what is on the label is in the bottle and that the product does not contain harmful contaminants.


  • NSF launches a dietary supplement GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) registration program.


  • NSF develops first American National Standard for dietary supplements (NSF/ANSI 173).
  • NSF opens a wastewater treatment test facility in Waco, TX.


  • NSF acquires Quality Assurance International, Inc. (QAI, Inc.), the global leader in organic certification.
  • NSF opens an office in São Paulo, Brazil.
  • NSF launches the Scrub Club, a website that teaches children proper and consistent hand washing techniques.
  • NSF launches an athletic banned substances certification program (Certified for Sport®), which is recognized by major sports organizations such as the NFL, MLB and their player associations, PGA, LPGA and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES).


  • NSF International Strategic Registrations, Ltd. (NSF-ISR) acquires the operations of Deloitte & Touche Quality Registrar Inc.
  • NSF establishes NSF Shanghai Co. Ltd. in the People's Republic of China.


  • NSF partners with the Philippine National Government to develop drinking water treatment standards.
  • NSF partners with international food equipment experts to develop a CEN Workshop Agreement for commercial food equipment.
  • NSF and the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment announce a strategic partnership to certify residential drinking water treatment products to European standards.
  • NSF acquires Davis Fresh Technologies, the premier provider of food safety audits for the produce and perishable food industries.


  • NSF completes an 80,000 square-foot laboratory expansion at its headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to increase its engineering, microbiology, chemistry and toxicology laboratory capabilities, bringing its headquarters and lab facility to a total of 106,000 square feet.
  • NSF acquires CMi, a consulting, certification and technical services provider for the agriculture, food processing, distribution, retail, catering and leisure industries.
  • NSF acquires David Begg Associates, which provides training and auditing services to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.


  • NSF opens an office in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • NSF launches the environmental sustainability program to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains.


  • NSF opens an office in India.
  • NSF acquires Surefish, a recognized leader in seafood quality, with offices in Seattle, Alaska, Vietnam and South Korea.


  • NSF opens an office in San José, Costa Rica.
  • NSF opens an office in Seoul, South Korea.
  • NSF launches a certification program to verify the quality, safety and performance of automotive aftermarket parts.


  • NSF launches Aspirago, offering cloud-based data management solutions for supply chain quality and compliance.
  • NSF acquires Pharmalytica, a leader in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.
  • NSF opens the NSF Shanghai Testing Laboratory in China.
  • NSF acquires AQA International LLC, a leader in management systems registrations.
  • NSF launches the home product certification program to test and certify home kitchen products and appliances.


  • NSF acquires Pink Associates, which provides consulting and training to the medical device industry.
  • NSF acquires Becker & Associates, a clinical, regulatory and scientific consulting firm specializing in U.S. FDA-regulated industries, specifically medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biologics.


  • The NSF Applied Research Center (ARC) is founded.
  • NSF acquires INASSA, a Peruvian market leader in providing quality control, analytical testing, certifications, inspections, training and consulting services to the seafood, fish meal, pharmaceutical, drinking water and mining sectors.
  • Guelph Food Technology Centre, a Canadian leader in food safety certification, training, quality and technical solutions, merges with NSF.
  • NSF acquires International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council of the Americas (IPEC-Americas) IPEA Auditing Subsidiary.
  • NSF opens an office in Abu Dhabi.
  • NSF acquires Bioensaios Analysis and Environmental Consulting Laboratory based in Porto Alegre, Brazil.


  • NSF launches a cosmetics program helping cosmetic manufacturers by providing auditing, training, product testing and certification services.
  • NSF acquires the laboratory portion of Jana Laboratories, Inc., a leader in plastic pipe testing in Canada.
  • NSF acquires Knight International Inspectorate, a company specializing in food safety certifications.


  • NSF acquires Erdmann Analytics, a German laboratory specializing in analytical testing of food products.
  • NSF acquires Avarent LLC, a consulting firm with expertise in medical device products/processes development, design control, validation, quality assurance and regulatory compliance.


  • NSF acquires AuthenTechnologies®, the world leader in botanical DNA testing for species identification.
  • NSF acquires the Burwater Pacific Group, a food safety training, consulting and auditing company in New Zealand.
  • NSF acquires Euro Consultants Group (ECG), a leading food safety and quality service company in Belgium.
  • NSF opens office in Ecuador to provide certification, auditing, training and consulting to the agriculture, supply chain, retail and environmental service sectors.


  • NSF acquires G+S Laboratory, a food and water testing lab in Germany.
  • NSF opens offices in Ecuador and Colombia.
  • NSF acquires PROSYSTEM AG, a medical device consulting firm in Germany.


  • NSF achieves LEED Gold® certification for Ann Arbor labs and office space.
  • NSF's lab in Shanghai relocates and expands as an NSF full capability laboratory.
  • NSF acquires a majority interest in Amarex Clinical Research, LLC