While shopping for restaurant equipment, you will find NSF® listed, UL® certified and ENERGY STAR® rated items. In many cases, people do not always know what these mean. We’ve compiled this list based from the CFSP (Certified Foodservice Professional) guide and each of their websites to explain everything.
What it stands for: National Sanitation Foundation
Who they are: A non-profit, non-governmental organization, also known as the Public Health and Safety Company™, who describe themselves as the “world leader in standards development, product certification and risk-management for public health and safety.”
Why they are important: The CFSP guide says NSF has the following three purposes for equipment in the foodservice industry:
- Assure all equipment meets health standards and passes critical inspection at the facility
- Allows manufacturers to apply uniform construction methods to all NSF listed equipment
- Provide health authorities throughout the country a “united front or voice” to require basic elements of equipment sanitation
What NSF listed means: In order to obtain the NSF listing, the equipment is reviewed and tested before approval. As there several types of equipment, NSF says on their website they have developed “over 50 voluntary American National Standards under the scope of health and safety” for foodservice equipment. They look closely at these standards before granting the NSF listing.
Below is a very brief and general overview from the CFSP guide of some of the things NSF looks into (keep in mind there are different standards more specific to different kinds of equipment):
- Physical design and construction evaluation for ease of cleaning
- Materials (look for corrosion or heat resistance, durability, nontoxic)
- Sanitation effectiveness
- Accuracy of control systems
What it stands for: Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
Who they are: UL is an independent, non-for-profit and non-governmental organization who describes themselves as “a global independent safety science company offering expertise across five key strategic businesses: Product Safety, Environment, Life and Health, University and Verification Services.”
Why they are important: With over 75 years of experience, the CFSP guide says the UL listing evaluates gas, electrical and sanitation safety on cooking, refrigeration, food processing and food prep equipment. They look at the most current standards and follow up after approval to ensure standards are maintained. A very brief overview of their mission on their website is below, view their full list here. They:
- Promote safe working environments
- Support the production and use of physically and environmentally safe products to prevent or reduce loss of life and property
- Advance safety science
What UL listed means: To receive the UL listing, companies will have received the proper testing for a specific product based on their over 20 safety standards. UL has worked with many organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), National Electrical Code (NEC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to determine and maintain current standards. The CFSP guide also adds the UL listing can also be reviewed for custom built equipment as well. To read how the entire process to make a product UL listed works, click here.
Are products with the UL Sanitation mark also NSF listed? According to the Underwriters Laboratories, they are accredited by the American National Standards Institute to certify products to NSF standards. This applies to food equipment, drinking water chemicals and products, and swimming pool equipment. For more information on UL products being NSF listed, check out this Code Authorities — EPH FAQs article. You can also review the “UL Food Program: Acceptance of the UL Mark” which includes information about the UL sanitation classification mark.
Who they are: Energy Star® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. They have created a partnership with the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and the U.S. Department of Energy that uses methods to protect the environment with energy efficient products and practices.
Why they are important: Energy Star® rated products are able to give a solution to some of the high energy costs and environmental issues. “Energy Star® provides a trustworthy label on over 60 product categories (and thousands of models) for home and office,” their website states. They also deliver technical information and tools to help make decisions for energy efficiency and play a key role in the latest technological advances. They have also put together a guide titled “Putting Energy into Profit” specifically for restaurants.
The Energy Star® website states their label was created to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy
- Make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features and comfort
What Energy Star means: Energy Star® says “products can earn the Energy Star® label by meeting the energy efficiency requirements set forth in Energy Star® product specifications.” These specifications have been/are established by the EPA, based on key guiding principles on this website. According to the CSFP guide, if a product is Energy Star® rated, a manufacturer must be able to show they meet the minimum energy efficiency criteria for that particular product category.
**Note: Certain Energy Star® products qualify for Federal tax credits, for more information click here.
We offer more than 400 ENERGY STAR® qualified products designed to help your restaurant cut utility costs. Our product consultants can help guide you to the products that are NSF and UL listed to ensure you are meeting health standards in your foodservice establishment. For more details call 800-215-9293 and be sure to visit our website for our entire line of food service equipment and supplies.
*Edits made by Carlisha Carr