With regard to the food service industry, NSF International's primary focus is on creating and maintaining sanitation standards. With thousands of people every year being hospitalized as a result of foodborne illness, food safety has become an increasingly important issue. Although the rules governing sanitation are not universal to all regions, the NSF marking on a product guarantees that it was rigorously tested at the manufacturing level to ensure that it protects food quality and safety when in use. Facilities that manufacture NSF certified products are required to undergo yearly evaluations by NSF auditors to renew their certification. NSF approved items are almost guaranteed to be in compliance with health department rules, and food service establishments that use them will often see a boost in their overall inspection scores.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
(UL) is a certification agency that focuses mostly on equipment safety standards. The engineers at UL test both electrical and gas fired food service equipment to ensure that standards in soundness of design, electrical safety, and structural integrity are met. If all the testing procedures are completed successfully, the piece of equipment is deemed safe for use in food service operations and is given the UL sticker. UL also has a sanitation classification that is similar to the one set forth by NSF International. In many instances, products listed as UL Sanitation certified are acceptable alternatives to NSF Listed items during health inspections. Consult your local regulatory offices for further information.
UL Listed: The basic UL symbol.
UL Listed US & Canada: A UL symbol with a "C" to the left and a "US" to the right denotes that the piece of restaurant equipment has been tested and met both US and Canadian safety standards. Similarly, a UL symbol with only a "C" to the bottom left indicates that the piece of restaurant equipment has been approved based on Canadian safety requirements only.
UL Listed Gas-Fired: A UL symbol with "GAS-FIRED" on top is given to restaurant equipment that uses gas as a primary power source. A piece of equipment with this marking has undergone tests for a number of potentially hazardous situations that could result from the use of its gas or electric system. This symbol indicates that it complies with not only UL standards, but with standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). You may see this marking with a "C" and/or "US" attached as well.
UL Listed EPH: This symbol appears on products that are certified to meet specific environmental and public health standards. If it shows the word "Classified" above the UL mark, then the product also complies with ANSI/NSF regulations.
UL Listed Marine: Products bearing this symbol have been tested to ensure that they comply with fire safety standards and can be used on maritime vessels.
EcoLogo: EcoLogo is a part of UL's environmental and business unit. Products bearing this symbol have been rigorously tested based on a variety of environmental attributes. These tests are conducted throughout the life cycle of the product and ensure that it meets performance and environmental standards.
European Union (CE)
is a mandatory certification for certain products within the European Economic Area, which covers the states which are members of the European Union. In order to sell and/or service a piece of restaurant equipment within these countries, it must bear the CE Logo. A product showing the CE marking complies with all applicable health and safety standards defined in European Union laws, known as "directives"
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
As one might guess, CSA, or the Canadian Standards Association
, is primarily applicable to the Canadian market. However, because CSA tests electrical and gas equipment to both its own standards as well as NSF and UL requirements, CSA marked equipment may be acceptable alternatives to NSF or UL Listed products during health inspections in the U.S. Consult your local regulatory offices for more information.
CSA Listed: The basic CSA symbol
CSA Listed US & Canada: A CSA symbol with a "C" to the bottom left and a "US" to the bottom right denotes that the piece of restaurant equipment has been tested and met both US and Canadian safety standards. Similarly, a CSA symbol with only a "US" on the bottom indicates that the piece of restaurant equipment has been approved based on U.S. safety requirements only. A plain symbol denotes a piece of equipment that is deemed safe for use in Canada only.
CSA Star: A CSA star mark means that a piece of equipment has been tested and has met the requirements for gas-fired products in the U.S.
CSA Blue Flame: A CSA blue flame certification means that a piece of equipment has been tested and has met the requirements for gas-fired products in Canada.
CSA Sanitation: A CSA sanitation mark is found on products that have been tested and found to meet all applicable NSF/ANSI sanitation requirements.
Although not normally required by local regulatory commissions, using Energy Star Qualified
equipment at your restaurant or food service operation can save thousands on annual energy bills. Using Energy Star Qualified equipment can also qualify you for a variety of tax credits. Energy Star standards are set by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. If a product meets the program's rigorous testing standards, it is awarded the Energy Star label.
Energy Star Qualified: The Energy Star Qualified symbol
Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL Intertek)
Edison Testing Laboratories
(ETL) is a division of Intertek, a global group of laboratories that test everything from petroleum to toys. This organization's mark, like many others on our list, is placed onto products that adhere to widely accepted gas, electrical, and other safety standards. These safety standards are developed through independent testing and routine follow-ups by an NRTL (nationally recognized testing laboratory), which means that ETL is held to the same standards as competing certification marks such as UL or CSA. The ETL Listed marking is recognized by local inspectors and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) throughout North America.
ETL Listed: The basic ETL Intertek symbol
ETL Listed US & Canada: If the ETL Listed mark has a "US" to the bottom right, it has passed U.S. product safety standards. If it has a "C" to the bottom left, it has passed Canadian product safety standards. If the ETL mark displays both identifiers, it meets both standards.
ETL Sanitation Listed: The ETL Sanitation mark is awarded to food service equipment that has been rigorously tested against national sanitation requirements. This mark ensures you that the equipment is fit for use during food production as the manufacturer has not only passed the initial testing, but remains in compliance by completing periodic follow-up inspections.
Canadian Gas Association (CGA)
In relation to the foodservice industry, the Canadian Gas Association
(CGA) develops and promotes safety standards for gas-powered equipment. If a piece of equipment receives the CGA blue flame mark, then it adheres to applicable Canadian standards for gas appliances or liquid petroleum products.
CGA Listed: The CGA blue flame symbol
Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)
The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute
(AHRI) is an agency that tests commercial refrigeration
and kitchen ventilation equipment to ensure that it lives up to the manufacturer's published claims. The AHRI certification is less about impressing the health inspectors or other regulatory bodies and more about making sure the consumer is getting a product that performs as advertised.
AHRI Certified: The AHRI symbol
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. But, what does this have to do with cooking equipment? Well, the FCC issues licenses to allow certain devices to operate over radio frequencies, and as it turns out, some microwaves and induction cooking ranges use radio waves to operate. So, when you buy a range or microwave listed as FCC compliant, you know that it is certified to operate on the radio frequencies that are designated for this type of device.
FCC Compliant: The FCC symbol
Plumbing and Drainage Institute (PDI)
The Plumbing and Drainage Institute
is an organization that certifies products such as: floor drains, roof drains, grease interceptors, backwater valves, and other plumbing and drain-type equipment. Not only does this organization set standards for plumbing and drainage equipment, but it also develops certified testing, rating, and installation procedures. Products with the PDI certification meet the Plumbing and Drainage Institute's requirements and standards.
NTEP Certified: The NTEP symbol
Standards for Accessible Design (ADA Compliant)
The Americans with Disabilities Act
was passed on July 26, 1990. This law states that no one may discriminate against a person with disabilities and that those with disabilities must have the same opportunities as everyone else in terms of employment and access to goods and services. Since this act was signed into law, the Department of Justice has issued ADA Standards for Accessible Design
. Products and equipment that meet the standards set forth by the Department of Justice are given the certification of ADA Compliant.
ADA Compliant: The ADA Compliant symbol
Green Seal Certified
Items that are Green Seal
certified meet Green Seal's standards for sustainability and are based on research done throughout the life cycle of a product. Green Seal's mission is to evaluate a product's impact on the health of people and the environment to determine whether or not it is safe for use. These evaluations are based on a rigorous set of requirements developed by Green Seal.
Green Seal Certified: The Green Seal Certified symbol
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
The U.S. Green Building Council
is an organization that promotes sustainable building practices, including saving energy, using fewer resources, and reducing waste. Although the USGBC doesn't review or give certifications to individual products, it does have a program for certifying buildings called LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design)
. The LEED program assesses how buildings are designed, built, and maintained and awards points for sustainable building practices. Once it has been determined that a building satisfies the requirements, its points are added up, and the building is awarded the LEED certification, which has different levels based on what specific requirements are met.
U.S. Green Building Council: The USGBC symbol