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Restaurant Equipment Certification Marks Explained

In the foodservice industry, sanitation and safety are extremely important. To keep equipment operators and end consumers safe, several certifying and testing agencies exist to work with manufacturers and verify that the restaurant equipment and smallwares they produce meet specific requirements. You can recognize products that meet these requirements by certain symbols found on the equipment or in its specification sheet. We will discuss some of the most common third-party testing agencies and directives, their importance, and how they may affect your business.

NSF International

Formerly the National Sanitation Foundation, NSF International is an independent non-profit dedicated to public health and environmental safety. With thousands of people every year being hospitalized as a result of foodborne illness, food safety has become an increasingly important issue. NSF International creates national standards for foodservice equipment, ensuring that food equipment manufacturers comply with hygienic design and food safety regulations. 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 comply with health department rules, and foodservice establishments that use them will often see a boost in their overall inspection scores.

Restaurant Equipment

UL Solutions

UL Solutions (UL) is a certification agency that focuses 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.


  • UL Listed US & Canada: 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 Gas-Fired: A UL symbol with "GAS-FIRED" on top is given to restaurant equipment that uses gas as a primary power source. Equipment with this marking has undergone tests for several 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 also 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 EPH: 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 Marine: Products bearing this symbol have been tested to ensure that they comply with fire safety standards and can be used on maritime vessels.
  • EcoLogo: 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. 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".

Restaurant Equipment

Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is primarily applicable to the Canadian market. However, because CSA tests electrical and gas equipment to both its standards as well as NSF and UL requirements, CSA-certified equipment may be acceptable alternatives to NSF or UL-listed products during health inspections in the US. Consult your local regulatory offices for more information.

  • CSA Listed US & Canada: 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 US safety requirements only. A plain symbol denotes a piece of equipment that is deemed safe for use in Canada only.
  • CSA Star: A CSA star mark means that a piece of equipment has been tested and has met the requirements for gas-fired products in the US.
  • CSA Blue Flame: 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 Sanitation: A CSA sanitation mark is found on products that have been tested and found to meet all applicable NSF/ANSI sanitation requirements
Restaurant Equipment


When a product is ENERGY STAR certified, it is a guarantee that it will be more energy-efficient compared to similar products without the rating. Before purchasing a product with the ENERGY STAR label, business owners can review its energy usage estimates to make an informed decision. Oftentimes, using ENERGY STAR-certified equipment can qualify operators 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.

Restaurant Equipment

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 on 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.

  • ETL Listed US & Canada: If the ETL Listed mark has a "US" to the bottom right, it has passed US 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.
  • ETL Sanitation Listed: The ETL Sanitation mark is awarded to food service equipment that has been rigorously tested against national sanitation requirements. This mark ensures you that the equipment is fit for use during food production as the manufacturer has not only passed the initial testing but remains in compliance by completing periodic follow-up inspections.
Restaurant Equipment

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.

Restaurant Equipment

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 US territories. But what does this have to do with cooking equipment? 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.

Restaurant Equipment

FM Approved

FM Approvals certify fire protection equipment, electrical equipment, and building materials. Commercial trash cans approved by Factory Mutual (FM) are certified to meet the requirement of Standard 6921 Combustible Waste Containers. The performance criteria for these containers with lids include the ability to withstand internal flames. FM Approved trash cans, safety cans, and safety cabinets are ideal for healthcare facilities disposing of or storing hazardous materials as well as any other establishment that needs to dispose of grease, oil, or flammable liquids.

Restaurant Equipment

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.

Restaurant Equipment

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 and portion control scales.

Restaurant Equipment

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.

Restaurant Equipment

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.

Restaurant Equipment

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.

Restaurant Equipment

RoHS Compliant

Originating in the European Union, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive restricts hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment to protect the environment and public health concerning electronic and electrical waste management. These ten restricted substances, known as EEE, include heavy metals, flame retardants, and plasticizers, which are hazardous to the environment and pollute landfills.

While there are no federal restrictions in the US, California has its own RoHS laws. Any covered electronic devices sold in California must meet the EU RoHS regulations.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.

Related Resources

Types of Food Certification Labels

From religious institutions to third party agencies to the U.S. Government, there are hundreds of groups that inspect, test, and certify thousands of food producers worldwide using an extensive range of standards. The certified products will then bear an easily identifiable label on their packaging for consumers to make informed purchases based on their preferences.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Having a fire extinguisher is crucial to the safety of your restaurant, employees, and customers. It is important that you understand the different types of fire extinguishers as well as the associated components and terminology so you can choose the fire extinguisher that's right for your operation. Be sure to check out our fire extinguisher reviews as well!

NSF International

When you're shopping for restaurant supplies and equipment, you might notice a round blue NSF certification mark on some products. You know it's a good thing, but what does it mean, and what does NSF International do, exactly? The NSF certification can have a significant impact for your restaurant. Purchasing NSF approved items can help you maintain a high level of food safety in your establishment, protect customers, and even protect your reputation. To learn more about what NSF International is and how they can help you keep your doors open, keep reading. What Is NSF International? NSF International is an independent public health and safety organization whose influence and stringent standards for developing public health regulations, cer

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