NSF International, a global public health and safety organization that certifies products and writes standards for food, water and consumer goods, has launched the NSF Home Product Certification Program. The new testing and certification program verifies the quality, performance and material safety of private label/store brand home products such as housewares and small appliances.
Manufacturers of private label products must meet multiple regulatory and retailer requirements. The NSF Home Product Certification Program provides a single set of retailer-approved testing requirements encompassing all applicable regulatory requirements and standards for each type of home product. Streamlining this process saves manufacturers the time and costs associated with meeting multiple requirements.
The NSF Home Product Certification Program is an important and timely program developed in response to several trends. While private label goods are a strong source of revenue for many retailers, they also pose significant risks to a retailer’s brand if unable to demonstrate compliance to the high safety and quality standards consumers expect.
Consumer demand for private labels, also known as store or exclusive brands, has risen significantly. Reports show private label goods continue to be a strong growth opportunity for retailers, accounting for as much as 90 percent of new revenue in retail channels. While consumers generally regard private label products as safe, more than 80 percent of US imports of consumer goods come from Asia, raising consumer concerns. Manufacturers must be able to demonstrate the safety and quality of their products to retailers who entrust their brands with private label products.
The NSF Home Products Certification program provides a means to source safer products through independent, third-party testing and certification. The program builds on NSF’s 67-year history in writing public health standards and protocols, and testing and certifying products to these standards. NSF involved scientists, engineers, manufacturers, retailers, public health experts and consumer product safety experts to develop a rigorous set of requirements (protocols) for each product category.
The Testing and Certification Process
To earn certification, NSF’s team of product engineers and chemists conduct extensive product assessments that verify the durability, design and safety of materials used to manufacture the product against these protocols. Testing is conducted at NSF’s global network of laboratories, including the NSF Shanghai Testing Laboratory in China, enabling companies importing goods from Asia to test prior to shipping. The certification process also includes a packaging label review and testing to substantiate any performance and marketing claims, as well as an annual audit of the manufacturing facility to verify the manufacturing process consistently produces compliant products.
Products meeting the requirements of the protocol can bear the NSF Certified for Home Use Certification Mark and are included in NSF International’s online listings so retailers, supply chain members and consumers can easily identify certified products.
“Manufacturers of private label home products must meet varying sets of retailer testing and regulatory requirements. The NSF Home Products Certification Program streamlines the product approval process by offering a certification program that satisfies all requirements. The program’s benefits are also passed to consumers as they can now look for the NSF Certified for Home Use Mark to easily identify products that have been tested for safety and quality,” said Sarah Krol, General Manager of Consumer Products, NSF International.
The NSF Home Product Certification Programis focused initially on kitchen products and housewares (e.g. food storage containers, cookware and bakeware) as well as small appliances (e.g. coffee makers, slow cookers and blenders). NSF will expand the program to include other products such as kitchen gadgets, tableware, flatware and cutlery, sport bottles, personal beverage containers, and many others.
NSF’s Full Range of Private Label Assurance and Consumer Product Services
The new program complements a full range of services delivered through NSF’s Consumer Products Division, which offers product testing and certification, private label assurance, specification development and consultative audits. These services help verify that private label/store brand products meet retailers’ quality standards, are comparable to national brands and comply with consumer product regulations. NSF’s Consumer Product Safety testing and certification programs include:
- Children’s products and toy testing.
- Private label quality assurance, including specification development; chemical, physical and sensory panel comparison testing; regulatory compliance and label reviews; packaging testing; and store, facility and distribution center audits.
- Nutritional and dietary supplement testing and certification to the NSF-led official American national standard for dietary supplements (NSF/ANSI 173) and the NSF Certified for Sport program, which screens for over 150 athletic banned substances.
- Drinking water filtration testing and certification to NSF-led American National Standards for drinking water treatment products and other global drinking water standards.
- Bottled water and beverages testing and certification to Global Food Safety Initiative-benchmarked and other food safety standards and protocols.
- Dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers for home use to NSF Protocols for sanitization and allergen reduction.
- Personal care products testing and certification to the NSF-led American National Standard for personal care products containing organic ingredients (NSF/ANSI 305).
- Foodservice equipment testing and certification to NSF-led American National Standards and Protocols for food service equipment and material safety.
- Organic, natural and gluten-free certification through NSF’s sister company, QAI (Quality Assurance International).
- Environmental/sustainable claims verification, testing and certification to NSF-led and other national standards for green chemicals and cleaners, building materials (e.g. roofing membranes), energy efficient appliances, and furnishings (e.g. carpet, wallcoverings, furniture).