Restaurant Equipment Approval and Testing Agencies

Buying Guide

In the foodservice industry, sanitation and safety are extremely important. To keep equipment operators and end consumers safe, there are a variety of certifying and testing agencies throughout the world who work with manufacturers to verify that restaurant equipment, smallwares, and even buildings meet specific requirements. You can recognize products that meet these requirements by certain symbols found either on the equipment itself or on its specification sheet. In this guide, we will discuss the symbols used on our site, their importance, and how they may affect your business.

National Sanitation Foundation (NSF International)

With regard to the food service industry, NSF International’s primary focus is on creating and maintaining sanitation standards. With thousands of people every year being hospitalized as a result of foodborne illness, food safety has become an increasingly important issue. Although the rules governing sanitation are not universal to all regions, the NSF marking on a product guarantees that it was rigorously tested at the manufacturing level to ensure that it protects food quality and safety when in use. Facilities that manufacture NSF certified products are required to undergo yearly evaluations by NSF auditors to renew their certification. NSF approved items are almost guaranteed to be in compliance with health department rules, and food service establishments that use them will often see a boost in their overall inspection scores.

Symbol Explanation
NSF International
The basic NSF International symbol
NSF International
An NSF symbol with a “C” to the bottom left and a “US” to the bottom right denotes that the product has been certified to meet both Canadian and U.S. safety and sanitation requirements. If you see a product that is NSF/ANSI listed, it has met the rules of both NSF International and the American National Standards Institute, which works closely with NSF to develop and test food safety standards.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL)

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a certification agency that focuses mostly on equipment safety standards. The engineers at UL test both electrical and gas fired food service equipment to ensure that standards in soundness of design, electrical safety, and structural integrity are met. If all the testing procedures are completed successfully, the piece of equipment is deemed safe for use in food service operations and is given the UL sticker. UL also has a sanitation classification that is similar to the one set forth by NSF International. In many instances, products listed as UL Sanitation certified are acceptable alternatives to NSF Listed items during health inspections. Consult your local regulatory offices for further information.
Symbol Explanation
UL Listed
The basic UL symbol
UL Listed
A UL symbol with a “C” to the left and a “US” to the right denotes that the piece of restaurant equipment has been tested and met both US and Canadian safety standards. Similarly, a UL symbol with only a “C” to the bottom left indicates that the piece of restaurant equipment has been approved based on Canadian safety requirements only.
UL Listed
A UL symbol with “GAS-FIRED” on top is given to restaurant equipment that uses gas as a primary power source. A piece of equipment with this marking has undergone tests for a number of potentially hazardous situations that could result from the use of its gas or electric system. This symbol indicates that it complies with not only UL standards, but with standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). You may see this marking with a “C” and/or “US” attached as well.
UL Listed
This symbol appears on products that are certified to meet specific environmental and public health standards. If it shows the word “Classified” above the UL mark, then the product also complies with ANSI/NSF regulations.
UL Listed
Products bearing this symbol have been tested to ensure that they comply with fire safety standards and can be used on maritime vessels.
UL Listed
EcoLogo is a part of UL’s environmental and business unit. Products bearing this symbol have been rigorously tested based on a variety of environmental attributes. These tests are conducted throughout the life cycle of the product and ensure that it meets performance and environmental standards.

European Union (CE)

CE is a mandatory certification for certain products within the European Economic Area, which covers the states which are members of the European Union. In order to sell and/or service a piece of restaurant equipment within these countries, it must bear the CE Logo. A product showing the CE marking complies with all applicable health and safety standards defined in European Union laws, known as “directives.”
Symbol Explanation
UL Listed
The CE symbol

Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

As one might guess, CSA, or the Canadian Standards Association, is primarily applicable to the Canadian market. However, because CSA tests electrical and gas equipment to both its own standards as well as NSF and UL requirements, CSA marked equipment may be acceptable alternatives to NSF or UL Listed products during health inspections in the U.S. Consult your local regulatory offices for more information.
Symbol Explanation
CSA Listed
The basic CSA symbol
CSA Listed
A CSA symbol with a “C” to the bottom left and a “US” to the bottom right denotes that the piece of restaurant equipment has been tested and met both US and Canadian safety standards. Similarly, a CSA symbol with only a “US” on the bottom indicates that the piece of restaurant equipment has been approved based on U.S. safety requirements only. A plain symbol denotes a piece of equipment that is deemed safe for use in Canada only.
CSA Listed
A CSA star mark means that a piece of equipment has been tested and has met the requirements for gas-fired products in the U.S.
CSA Listed
A CSA blue flame certification means that a piece of equipment has been tested and has met the requirements for gas-fired products in Canada.
CSA Listed
A CSA sanitation mark is found on products that have been tested and found to meet all applicable NSF/ANSI sanitation requirements.

Energy Star

Although not normally required by local regulatory commissions, using Energy Star Certified equipment at your restaurant or food service operation can save thousands on annual energy bills. Using Energy Star Certified equipment can also qualify you for a variety of tax credits. Energy Star standards are set by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. If a product meets the program's rigorous testing standards, it is awarded the Energy Star label.
Symbol Explanation
Energy Star Certified
The Energy Star Certified symbol

Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL Intertek)

Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL) is a division of Intertek, a global group of laboratories that test everything from petroleum to toys. This organization’s mark, like many others on our list, is placed onto products that adhere to widely accepted gas, electrical, and other safety standards. These safety standards are developed through independent testing and routine follow-ups by an NRTL (nationally recognized testing laboratory), which means that ETL is held to the same standards as competing certification marks such as UL or CSA. The ETL Listed marking is recognized by local inspectors and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) throughout North America.
Symbol Explanation
ETL Listed
The basic ETL Intertek symbol
ETL Listed
If the ETL Listed mark has a “US” to the bottom right, it has passed U.S. product safety standards. If it has a “C” to the bottom left, it has passed Canadian product safety standards. If the ETL mark displays both identifiers, it meets both standards.

Canadian Gas Association (CGA)

In relation to the foodservice industry, the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) develops and promotes safety standards for gas-powered equipment. If a piece of equipment receives the CGA blue flame mark, then it adheres to applicable Canadian standards for gas appliances or liquid petroleum products.
Symbol Explanation
CGA Listed
The CGA blue flame symbol

Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)

The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is an agency that tests commercial refrigeration and kitchen ventilation equipment to ensure that it lives up to the manufacturer’s published claims. The AHRI certification is less about impressing the health inspectors or other regulatory bodies and more about making sure the consumer is getting a product that performs as advertised.
Symbol Explanation
AHRI Certified
The AHRI symbol

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. But, what does this have to do with cooking equipment? Well, the FCC issues licenses to allow certain devices to operate over radio frequencies, and as it turns out, some microwaves and induction cooking ranges use radio waves to operate. So, when you buy a range or microwave listed as FCC compliant, you know that it is certified to operate on the radio frequencies that are designated for this type of device.
Symbol Explanation
FCC Compliant
The FCC symbol

Plumbing and Drainage Institute (PDI)

The Plumbing and Drainage Institute is an organization that certifies products such as: floor drains, roof drains, grease interceptors, backwater valves, and other plumbing and drain-type equipment. Not only does this organization set standards for plumbing and drainage equipment, but it also develops certified testing, rating, and installation procedures. Products with the PDI certification meet the Plumbing and Drainage Institute’s requirements and standards.
Symbol Explanation
PDI Certified
The PDI symbol

National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP)

The National Type Evaluation Program, or NTEP, is the result of the cooperation between several different regulatory bodies, including the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), and state weights and measures officials. Before you understand what NTEP does, you have to know that NIST has a set of requirements for commercial weighing and measuring equipment known as Handbook 44. NTEP uses the standards in Handbook 44 to evaluate all weighing and measuring equipment for commercial use, such as legal for trade scales, portion control scales, etc.
Symbol Explanation
NTEP Certified
The NTEP symbol

Standards for Accessible Design (ADA Compliant)

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed on July 26, 1990. This law states that no one may discriminate against a person with disabilities and that those with disabilities must have the same opportunities as everyone else in terms of employment and access to goods and services. Since this act was signed into law, the Department of Justice has issued ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Products and equipment that meet the standards set forth by the Department of Justice are given the certification of ADA Compliant.
Symbol Explanation
ADA Compliant
The ADA Compliant symbol

Green Seal Certified

Items that are Green Seal certified meet Green Seal’s standards for sustainability and are based on research done throughout the life cycle of a product. Green Seal’s mission is to evaluate a product’s impact on the health of people and the environment to determine whether or not it is safe for use. These evaluations are based on a rigorous set of requirements developed by Green Seal.
Symbol Explanation
Green Seal Certified
The Green Seal Certified symbol

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

The U.S. Green Building Council is an organization that promotes sustainable building practices, including saving energy, using fewer resources, and reducing waste. Although the USGBC doesn’t review or give certifications to individual products, it does have a program for certifying buildings called LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design). The LEED program assesses how buildings are designed, built, and maintained and awards points for sustainable building practices. Once it has been determined that a building satisfies the requirements, its points are added up, and the building is awarded the LEED certification, which has different levels based on what specific requirements are met.
Symbol Explanation
U.S. Green Building Council
The USGBC symbol