We are all aware that food processing facilities need to be NSF certified. But what does it have to do with lighting? Well, since the food processing facilities are exposed to steam, grease, and oil, they are cleaned with high-pressure washdowns using corrosive chemicals. The lighting in these spaces is required to be designed to endure these tough conditions so that they contribute to the maintaining of a clean environment while safely lighting it up. This is where NSF certification in lighting comes into play.
What is NSF certification?
NSF International (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) is an independent non-profit public health and safety organization responsible for setting stringent standards for developing public health regulations, certifying equipment and products. Its main goal is to maintain the highest safety standards for all facilities that manufacture and distribute consumer food, water, and health products. With its strict measures and methods of testing, it protects the health and safety of end users of products bearing the NSF mark.
In order for a light fixture to be NSF certified, it needs to meet the requirements of NSF/ANSI 2. ANSI accredits organizations that establish product standards and certify products. They evaluate and monitor NSF standards development and product certification processes. This requires the fixture to pass the standards established for food protection and sanitation in terms of its materials, design, fabrication, construction, and performance. Which means that not only the product is tested, but also the facility that manufactures the product requires to be tested to comply with the stringent requirements of the FDA and USDA.
Why is NSF certification important?
NSF certification can have a significant impact. Installing NSF approved lighting can help maintain a high degree of food safety, protect customers, and even protect the reputation of the establishment. A health code violation claim can be devastating to any business establishment. Ensuring the use of NSF certified products can help avoid violations and improve the reputation of the establishment in the long run.
Improper hygiene standards in establishments that handle food can potentially expose customers to foodborne illnesses and push up business spending on damage control. Given the enormous risks associated, it makes perfect sense to invest in NSF certified products and lighting fixtures. The benefits of an NSF listed light far outweigh the worries of extra cost versus a non-NSF light. Choosing NSF approved products:
- Reduces the chance of foodborne illness.
- May help boost the overall health inspection scores of the business.
- Results in easier and more efficient cleaning, saving employees' time and therefore saving money.
How do I know if it is NSF listed?
One can tell if a product is NSF listed, by finding the NSF symbol on the item itself. NSF International has developed the symbol associated with their name over the last 70 years, changing it from a more intricately designed logo to the simple blue logo that they use now. If you are not sure if a product is NSF approved or if the certification may have expired, you can look items up on the NSF website to confirm the certification.
Given the market requirements of such a fixture, we have introduced our new line of LED UFO High Bay NSF Grade. This NSF certified fixture provides multiple lumen packages and distributions to meet the unique challenges of lighting applications in food processing environments. It is a direct replacement of traditional HID fixtures.