The Difference Between NSF and ETL Certification

If it’s not your first day on the job, you’ve probably seen these symbols before:

nsf logo                     nomETL-01


They’re the official symbols of NSF International and ETL Intertek, respectively. Both are companies that issue third-party sanitation and safety certifications that have. Products that receive these certifications have undergone rigorous testing and are almost guaranteed to be in compliance with local health and safety codes. Although they’re both great certifications to have, they don’t work in exactly the same way, so let’s break down each of them.

NSF International

NSF International, originally the National Sanitation Foundation, is an American organization that certifies equipment as food-safe.

NSF International tests rigorously across three categories: material, design, and performance. Material safety ensures that harmful compounds will not leach into food product. Design safety tests for cleanability of a product and likeliness to harbor bacteria. Performance tests simply ensure the last quality of a product.

Manufacturers of NSF International-certified products are subject to unannounced annual audits to ensure an adherence to NSF International’s standards.

ETL Intertek

ETL Intertek is a national testing laboratory recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Like NSF International, ETL Intertek is an independent third-party testing organization. Their services test for food safety, as well as safety of utility usage, including electrical and gas. ETL tests to the standards of UL, ANSI, CSA, ASTM, and NFPA.

Both groups test to extremely high standards, many of which overlap. These are two of the most well-regarded certifications in the industry, so either way, if your products are NSF or ETL certified, you can be sure you’re in good hands!


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