You’ve heard it from your customers before: “Our food processing facility needs NSF certified, food grade light fixtures”. But why does lighting need to be NSF certified anyway?
Since food processing facilities endure high-pressure washdowns using corrosive cleaning solutions and are exposed to steam, grease, oil and fluctuating temperatures, the lighting installed in these spaces need to be able to endure these tough conditions on a day-to-day basis. At the same time, they must contribute to the maintaining of a clean environment while safely lighting up the workspace. This is where NSF certification comes into play.
What is NSF Certification?
NSF International (formerly The National Sanitation Foundation) works as a non-profit, independent, third-party certifier of products for the food processing industry. 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, NSF ensures that all products are in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), helping to protect the health and safety of end users of products bearing the NSF mark.
The path to NSF certification is rigorous: the product is evaluated and tested while the manufacturing facility is also inspected. Once certified, the facility is re-inspected annually and the product re-tested to ensure ongoing compliance. It’s a serious standard that enables NSF’s mission to protect and improve global human health.
How Does NSF Certification Work for Light Fixtures?
In order for a light fixture to be NSF certified, it needs to meet the requirements of NSF/ANSI 2 and pass the standards established for food protection and sanitation in terms of its materials, design, fabrication, construction and performance. This means that not only the product itself is tested; the facility that manufactures the product also needs to pass a battery of tests that pertain to the stringent requirements of the FDA and USDA.
Once tested, a light fixture can be NSF/ANSI 2 certified for the three certifiable locations where equipment can be used in food processing, but only the first two zones apply to light fixtures. These zones include NON-FOOD ZONE, SPLASH ZONE, and FOOD ZONE. The following chart explains all you need to know about NSF certification zones and the types of lighting applications assigned to each.
We are proud to have our facility and the first line of products pass these stringent tests and are happy to introduce our new line of NSF Certified LED High Bays. If your customers are in the market for these high bay fixtures, do not hesitate to contact one of our specialists!