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What Does NSF Mean – NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation

What Does NSF Mean – NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation, which is a non-profit organization based in the United States established in 1944 with the goal of creating standards for sanitation and food safety for public health.

What Is The Background And History Of The NSF
What Is The Background And History Of The NSF?

The NSF was established to standardize food safety requirements and sanitation. It first centered around the sanitation of soda fountain and luncheonette equipment. Eventually, their process evolved to develop the first rules regarding other public health and safety standards. Today, the company has created more than 80 public health and safety American National Standards, and because they have expanded their services to cover beyond sanitation, NSF formally changed their name to NSF International in 1990.

What Does NSF Mean
Protecting Our Environment To Keep Us Healthy

Assuming that the food and the water you consume is safe may be a mistake. Certifications and their acronyms may mean nothing to the untrained eye, but for companies in the food water manufacturing industries, certifications ensure that products are safe to be used and consumed.

Here are some acronyms with which it is beneficial to be familiar:

  • NSF (National Sanitation Foundation)
  • ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
  • WQA (Water Quality Association)
  • NSF/ANSI Standard 61 (The most stringent water treatment standards)
  • Biodegradable Products Institute-combustible logo
  • GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice)

What Does NSF Mean?

Sanitation is paramount. Health problems due to poor sanitation include fever, dehydration, diarrhea and death. The NSF, or National Sanitation Foundation, is a non-profit organization based in the United States established in 1944 with the goal of creating standards for sanitation and food safety for public health. Now known as NSF International, the foundation protects the world’s food, water, consumer products and the environment.

The NSF sets requirements and certifies products that improve global human health. In the United States, the American National Standard (also referred to as NSF/ANSI 305: Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients) was formed to provide standards for production and labeling of personal care items. The NSF/ANSI 305 allows for limited chemical processing such as saponification which allows products such as soaps to lather [1].

What Is The Purpose Of The NSF
What Is The Purpose Of The NSF?

The purpose of NSF International’s is to develop uniform as well as consensus-based national standards. They do this with the aid of regulators, consumers, industry professionals, and public health experts. Their engineers, public health professionals, as well as scientists, are the ones who provide the testing and develop the protocols that NSF uses to ensure that they are up to standards. There are more than 70 active public health and safety American National Standards with more than 70 active protocols designed for food equipment, appliances, drinking water filters among others. Products that meet NSF International’s standards are given the NSF mark [2].


Understanding The NSF Certification
Understanding The NSF Certification

What is NSF certified? A product that has met the standards of the National Sanitation Foundation and received the NSF certification means that the company has complied with the tough standards and processes that the NSF has established. Getting an NSF certification is not easy. There are surprise inspections and extensive testing of a product or products before a product certification is given. The NSF ensures that the manufacturing facility has also been tested thoroughly.

NSF certification is not a single event. It requires regular on-site inspections of the manufacturing facility to ensure good manufacturing practices. If a company or a product fails to meet their standards, the NSF will take action. They may make a public notification, conduct a product recall or de-certify the particular product. Products that have passed the certification put in place by NSF will receive an NSF seal which can be displayed on the products [2].


What Does NSF/ANSI 61 Certification Mean
What Is NSF/ANSI 305: Organic Personal Care Products

Quality Assurance International (QAI) is accredited by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), as well as NSF/ANSI 305, which oversees Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients. QAI is a leading organization that provides organic certification and is part of the NSF International family of companies. Products that are found to contain at least 70% of certified organic ingredients, but do not meet the food-focused requirements of NOP because of cosmetic industry chemical processes, as well as production methods, can be given the NSF/ANSI 305 certification instead.

Procedures for the Evaluation of Proprietary Substances and Nonfood Compounds

Formulation Submission and Labeling Requirements

Formulation Submission

For a product to be evaluated, the complete chemical composition must be provided. This is necessary to determine the status of both active and inert ingredients based on the existing regulations and policies.

Label Submission

Both electronic, as well as hard copy submission of product labels, must be included with each application. For hard copies only, a copy of the original of each product label must be included in each application.

Label Content

Labeling should include the trade name of the product, name of the company that is marketing the product, the label with the Registration Mark, Category Code, and Registration Number submitted for NSF approval, as well as the NSF Registration Number.

Registration Statements

If NSF registers the product, the company will place the NSF Registration Mark, NSF Registration Number, and the Category Code on the product label. Any other uses of, or even references to, NSF must approve the NSF name in writing.

What is the Process for Sample Submission to the NSF?

Two steps need to be met, and these are:

Submission of samples

Once the initial review has been done, NSF may request for sample submission. The NSF will specify the quantity. Also, the original application’s tracking number must also be included. (Samples should never be included with the initial application form. If samples are sent along with the application, the sample can either be returned or discarded.)

Sample size and shipment

The NSF will specify the sample size. Samples need to be shipped either by express, air, or surface transportation. There are some corrosive as well as hazardous materials that may be classified as un-mailable by the U.S. Postal Service and may be subjected to hazardous materials (HAZMAT) shipping regulations.

Product Specific Requirements – Nonfood Compounds

General Requirements

Heavy metals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and selenium, as well as ingredients that NSF International classifies as carcinogens, mutagens, mineral acids, teratogens, and odorous, may be subject to exclusion at the discretion of NSF International. Among the general information that will be looked at are the intended use of the product, percent of the weight of the ingredient in question, as well as potential risks that are associated with exposure.



What Does NSF Mean
Understanding The NSF Certification
What Does NSF ANSI 61 Certification Mean
How To Acquire An NSF Certification

Acquiring An NSF Certification
How To Acquire An NSF Certification

For food water companies that want to get their NSF seal, there are steps to take to have a manufacturing facility checked.


Apply for NSF Certification.

Product test

The NSF conducts various product testing to ensure that the product does not support the rapid growth of dangerous bacteria. Tests include pH measurement, inoculation of certain strains of bacteria and water activity to name a few.

Plant audit

In order to get product certification, the facility is audited initially then annually. The auditing process ensures that only safe ingredients are used in the creation of the products and quality control and assurance procedures are used by the company. The audit checks that they meet all the standards of NSF.

NSF certification

Certification is awarded only when all the requirements have been met, a contract has been signed and an official listing has been created. Companies or products that meet the NSF criteria for certification can display the NSF seal on their product label. They are eligible to be included in the list displayed on the NSF website and their listing books.

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