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Tell me more about NSF. What does it mean and is it necessary?

The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) is a quality assurance agency that approves equipment to be safe because it meets certain standards of design, operation, and materials of construction. Many health codes across the country require this certification on food equipment used to prepare foods served to the public. Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you’ll see NSF stickers everywhere – it’s a must. While mobile food service operations generally have less stringent guidelines than a permanent restaurant, more and more health departments are requiring NSF certification on ALL food service equipment – mobile or permanent. It is also worth noting that we’ve seen events themselves require NSF certified equipment – whether or not the county health department requires it.

A quick Google search for “mobile food, NSF” currently yields over 500,000 results! The following are excerpts of actual code, taken from various areas around the US. 1) Cawtawba County, NC – “All equipment used on the mobile unit shall be of commercial manufacture and approved by a third party certifier, such as NSF.” 2) Pima County, AZ – “The construction/workmanship of the MFE (Mobile Food Establishment) must meet standards set by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) or be equivalent of these standards.” 3) Richardson, TX – “The mobile unit is a commercial operation. Equipment that meets or exceeds standards of the NSF is approved for use in the city of Richardson.” 4) Pittsburgh, PA – “Required commercial food service equipment, refrigeration and utensils must conform to NSF standards or equivalent.” 5) Oklahoma, statewide – “Equipment for cooling and heating food and holding hot and cold food shall meet NSF or equivalent approval.”

North Bend Kettle Corn has maintained our certification since 2004. NSF performs annual, unannounced audits at our manufacturing facility to ensure compliance with their standards. If you are interested in seeing which kettle corn equipment manufacturers have an NSF certification, click here and type “kettle corn” in the “Product Search” box.

NOTE: Any company that is advertising their equipment to be “tested and certified NSF compliant” is NOT actually NSF certified. It is just a way of misleading people into thinking they are buying NSF certified equipment. A company can CLAIM their equipment is “compliant” to NSF standards, but unless it is actually CERTIFIED by NSF you run the risk of non-compliance with local health department regulations.

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