Foodservice equipment can adhere to a wide range of regional, national and international standards, including standards written or administered by NSF International (NSF), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), ENERGY STAR®, and many others. The small icons you see on a piece of restaurant equipment can represent information about sanitation, safety, performance and energy efficiency. Knowing what these symbols mean, and who is qualified to perform product testing and certification, can improve your ability to make the most informed decision regarding the equipment you purchase and use in your restaurant or bar.
NSF International is a not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, and is the world leader in standards development, product certification, education and risk management for public health and safety. More information on certification, including the process, standards and products, is available by visiting the NSF Food Equipment Program.
The registered NSF Certification Mark on a food equipment product confirms that NSF has assessed and certified its conformity with the relevant NSF standard. As part of the certification process, the production facility is audited unannounced, at least annually. The audit ensures that all the requirements of the standard continue to be met, quality assurance and quality control procedures are followed in fabrication, products are sampled and retested on schedule, and labeling and product literature are true and accurate.
UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories and is an independent, not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization. UL is a source for product compliance and serves a wide range of customers including manufacturers, retailers, consumers and regulating bodies. UL has been testing products for public safety for more than a century and has developed more than 1,000 standards for safety.
The UL Listing symbol is one of the most common UL marks and means that UL found that representative samples of this product met UL’s safety requirements. These requirements are primarily based on UL’s own published standards for safety.
CSA International is a leading provider of product testing and certification services. CSA tests products for compliance with national and international standards, and it issues certification marks for qualified products. CSA certification marks mean that a product has been evaluated by a formal process involving examination, testing and follow-up inspection, and that it complies with applicable standards for safety and performance.
The CSA mark on its own indicates that a product is certified primarily for the Canadian market, to the applicable Canadian standards. If a product has features from more than one area, the mark indicates compliance with all applicable standards.
The CE marking indicates a product’s compliance with EU legislation and so enables the free movement of products within the European market. By affixing the CE marking to a product, a manufacturer declares, on his sole responsibility, that the product meets all the legal requirements for the CE marking, which means that the product can be sold throughout the European Economic Area. CE marking does not indicate that a product was made in the EEA, but merely states that the product has been assessed before being placed on the market and thus satisfies the applicable legislative requirements enabling it to be sold there.
The CE marking is required for many products. It means that the manufacturer has verified that the product complies with all health and safety or environmental requirements and has been examined by an independent conformity assessment body.
ETL is the Certification mark used by Intertek. Intertek is a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), similar to UL, CSA International and NSF International. An NRTL provides independent evaluation, testing and certification of any electrically operated or gas- and oil-fired product. Additionally, Intertek is the world’s largest independent testing, inspection and certification partner.
A product bearing the ETL Listed mark is determined to have met the minimum requirements of prescribed product safety standards. Moreover, the mark indicates that the manufacturer’s production site conforms to a range of compliance measures and is subject to periodic follow-up inspections to verify continued conformance. The ETL Listed mark is used on electrical, gas- and oil-fired products. The ETL Listed mark is the equivalent of the UL Listed and CSA Listed marks throughout the United States and Canada.
ENERGY STAR is a joint agency program supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions. ENERGY STAR can help foodservice and food retail operators improve the performance of their facilities and equipment while reducing energy costs.
The ENERGY STAR symbol ensures that products such as dishwashers, fryers, hot-food holding cabinets, solid-door refrigerators and freezers, ice machines and steamer cookers meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy.