What NSF Certified Means To Your Mobile Food Business

When dealing with your local health inspector, you may have been informed that all some of the equipment in your food truck must be NSF certified. So what is does this certification prove and why do you have to use equipment that is certified instead of something you bought at Target or Sur la Table?

The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) is a non-profit organization that evaluates each piece of equipment intended to for use in a commercial application. Any item that doesn’t pass their stringent testing is not given NSF status- and is not suitable for use in commercial kitchens.

So What Does NSF Certified Mean To You?

Depending on your local health regulations, certain pieces of equipment must be NSF certified for your food truck to pass health inspection. As an example, the countertop in your home kitchen would not typically pass NSF as it can’t be sanitized as effectively as stainless steel.

If you think you want to operate your food truck kitchen without NSF rated equipment and you are caught, you could face huge fines and in some case may even have to remodel and replace the pieces found inadequate. If you need to replace your interior workspaces or appliances this will typically require downtime, and thus you’ll lose revenue and potentially customers if the non-compliance gets publicized.

Using non-NSF certified equipment will also affect your insurance coverage. If you add a piece of restaurant equipment that doesn’t meet commercial guidelines, any accidents, fires, or loss resulting from that item, and in some cases even the presence of that item in your kitchen, can void your insurance policy.

So What Should You Do?
  • Learn your local health regulations. They will guide you to the exact pieces you need to keep your food truck kitchen safe and sanitary
  • Inspect every piece of equipment in or plan to add to your truck kitchen and find out where it was made. Some countries do not have the same strict health regulations that the United States does, and purchasing grills, ovens, prep tables, or even cutting boards from overseas can hurt your mobile food business if they’re not properly rated. Some electrical items can be made NSF compliant, but in the vast most cases, it’s cheaper and easier to buy an American product instead.
  • Ask the question. Not only should you ask your local health officials for a list of required NSF certified items, but ask your suppliers for NSF certified equipment.

Now that you know to look for NSF certified equipment, it’ll be easier for your food truck to meet local health codes.

Find NSF certified equipment suppliers at: Food Truck Supplier Directory

Buy NSF certified equipment directly at: The Mobile Cuisine Store

2017-03-31T08:41:14+00:00 By |Under the Hood|

About the Author:

Richard is an architect by degree (Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan) who began his career in real estate development and architectural planning. In September of 2010 he created Mobile Cuisine Magazine to fill an information void he found when he began researching how to start a mobile hotdog cart in Chicago. Richard found that there was no central repository of mobile street food information anywhere on the internet, and with that, the idea for MCM was born.


  1. Jon R Mar 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    That’s National Sanitation Foundation, not Science. Though they are now officially just “NSF International.”

  2. Mobile Cuisine Mar 17, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Carl Casper Sep 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    In our city we got smart and proved to the City inspectors that they were promoting a private corporation that makes money out of testing equipment. Now it is commercial grade equipment NSF or equivalent. Companies spend thousands of dollars to get that corporations seal of approval and once it’s approved manufacturers raise their product price to adjust all the increase cost of testing and continuing product certification. Bottom line it’s a private corporation that specializes in testing equipment. It’s very high standards have given it a place in our industry but to say it must be NSF is totally wrong of any city and is liable to lawsuits against it.

  4. Mobile Cuisine Sep 17, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    That’s awesome Carl. Maybe you folks have started a trend.

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