July 2021

· 3 min read

Understanding Food Shield Certification Requirements

Ensure your food shields meet industry-accepted guidelines for hygienic design, materials and other construction specifications.

Man with a beard making a salad for a customer at restaurant - Food Shield Certification Requirements | NSF International

Technically Speaking: What Is a Food Shield?

The standard NSF/ANSI 2: Food Equipment defines a food shield as a barrier between a customer’s mouth and unpackaged food. It is designed and manufactured to assist in protecting the food from customer contamination. NSF/ANSI 2 has three main food shield classifications:

  • Self-service food shields: The type usually found at salad bars, buffets and college dining rooms
  • Vertical food shields: The kind typically used at quick serve restaurants and fast food chains where food is prepared in front of you
  • Food shields for use on cafeteria counters: Most common in school cafeterias and hospitals

Design Requirements

Knowing a food shield’s classification and how it is intended to be installed helps determine the general and specific design requirements that may apply. In addition to food shields used in conjunction with countertop equipment and multiple-tier food shields, NSF/ANSI 2 also outlines requirements for the end shields required on each type of food shield.