NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit, public health and safety organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Originally formed as the National Sanitation Foundation in 1944 at the University of Michigan School of Public Health to develop consensus on food equipment sanitation standards, NSF has grown over the years and now touches many areas of public health and safety, including: drinking water, biohazard cabinetry, food safety, water quality, sustainability, and more. Consumers may recognize the blue NSF “mark” on a variety of products in their homes, commercial buildings, and restaurants and grocery stores. Consumers can search NSF’s online listings to see which products have been inspected, tested, and certified to comply with U.S. standards. NSF International provides food safety inspection services from farm to fork, including on-site audits of farms, processing facilities, distribution centers, grocery stores, and restaurants. These services are requested by companies who want to voluntarily demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements and best practices when it comes to food safety, providing an added layer of protection to the primary regulatory inspection role.
Our country now imports so many food products, including up to 75% of seafood and 40% of fresh fruit and vegetables. The rapid globalization of our food supply and the increased demand for fresh produce year-round has resulted in regulatory inspections falling behind. Regulatory inspection limitations were addressed in the 2011 U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), in which third party audits of foreign food facilities will be recognized as a basis of product acceptance. A major benefit to consumers is that this added oversight of imports will be done at no direct cost to taxpayers. Third party audits already benefit consumers by providing independent surveillance of the domestic and foreign food supply chain at a frequency that often exceeds current FDA inspection schedules. Today, food growers, processors, distributors, and retailers contract thousands of third party audits per year to help ensure the safety of their products.
NSF is a long-time financial supporter of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, and serving on the Partnership Board of Directors. NSF has also developed the Scrub Club for Kids, an on-line, hand-washing promotional program for kids. NSF partnered with the USDA, FDA, and CDC in carrying out two national consumer food safety education conferences to help ensure that health educators have the latest and best information to positively impact consumer food safety behaviors.
Today, NSF employs more than 1,300 professionals, with offices and laboratories around the world, to help promote the health and safety of consumers everywhere. For more information, visitwww.nsf.org