Mission and History

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NSF's mission is to improve human and planet health.

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Our Mission

Since 1944, our mission has been to improve human and planet health. Our mission is carried out by more than 3,000 employees around the world, 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 principles guide all of NSF’s actions.

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: In 2022, we changed our name from NSF International to NSF, simplifying it for greater consistency between our global approach and our brand name. 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.

Highlights of our history:


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


  • NSF establishes the Council of Public Health Consultants.
  • We introduce NSF Standards 1 and 2, the first food equipment standards.


  • Standard 9 is developed, and the pool, spa and hot tub products certification program begins.


  • The plastics piping and wastewater treatment programs begin.


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


  • NSF develops the first national standard for water treatment chemicals (NSF 61) following the passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act.


  • The bottled water program begins.
  • We establish the Health Advisory Board.


  • NSF begins expansion outside the United States by opening its European headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.


  • Our ISO 9000 program begins.
  • We receive accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).


  • NSF-ISR is established as a wholly owned subsidiary of NSF.
  • NSF is designated a Collaborating Center on Drinking Water Safety and Treatment by the World Health Organization (WHO).


  • We establish the Center for Public Health Education at NSF.


  • We begin helping businesses manage food safety across the supply chain with the acquisition of Cook & Thurber, LLC.
  • NSF launches a testing and certification program for dietary supplements.


  • We introduce a dietary supplement GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) registration program.


  • NSF develops NSF/ANSI 173, the first American National Standard for dietary supplements.


  • We introduce Certified for Sport®, an athletic banned substances certification program 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 launches a presence in Asia-Pacific with NSF Shanghai Co. Ltd. in the People's Republic of China.


  • NSF acquires David Begg Associates and enters the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.


  • We begin an environmental sustainability program to help businesses improve the environmental performance of products, operations, systems and supply chains.


  • NSF launches a certification program to verify the quality, safety and performance of automotive aftermarket parts.


  • We introduce a home product certification program to test and certify home kitchen products and appliances.


  • NSF introduces a cosmetics program, providing cosmetic manufacturers with auditing, training, product testing and certification services.


  • We earn LEED Gold® certification for the labs and office space at our Ann Arbor headquarters.


  • Pedro Sancha is appointed President and CEO of NSF.