It wasn't until the turn of the 20th century that the US government took an interest in Food Safety. The catalyst was the 1905 publication of "The Jungle" by journalist Upton Sinclair, a scathing expose of unsanitary and inhumane conditions at American slaughterhouses. Since meat from these packing plants was shipped across state lines, it fell under federal regulations. In 1906, Congress passed both the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act, thus creating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In 1934, the FDA and the U.S. Public Health Service created the first "Restaurant Sanitation Program," a voluntary set of food safety regulations for restaurants.
But there were still problems after 1934 with rules and regulations regarding Food Safety. Food Safety inspections were often conducted by local city or county officials, not state regulators. There were no national sanitation standards, and each municipality developed its own regulations. This lack of a national sanitation standard was particularly troublesome for food manufacturers, whose products might be approved by Inspectors in one region but not in another.
The Need for National Food Safety Standards
This lack of a national sanitation standard led to the founding of an independent, not-for-profit organization in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The NSF then developed standards for sanitation that included input from the public, the business community, and the government agencies.
The NSF Today
Manufacturers, regulators and consumers look to NSF International for the development of public health standards and certification programs that help protect the world’s food, water, consumer products and environment. NSF’s mission is to protect and improve global human health.
As an independent, accredited organization, NSF develops standards, tests and certifies products and systems. NSF provides auditing, education and risk management solutions for public health and the environment.
National Sanitation Foundation Certification:
The NSF Mark is your assurance that the product has been tested and certified by a respected independent certification organization and complies with all standard public health requirements. NSF certification is your assurance that the products meet strict standards for public health protection.
Most importantly, NSF certification is not a one-time event, but involves regular on-site inspections of manufacturing facilities and regular re-testing of products to ensure that they continue to meet the same high standards required to maintain certification over time.
NSF International ensures compliance to Food and Drug Administration and United States Department of Agriculture requirements and testing the materials, construction and
clean-ability of the product.