Everthing in the food and beverage manufacturing sector must undergo testing and approval to be used safely alongside the items we consume. But it might be challenging to grasp the many certifying organizations and certifications light fixtures can obtain. The public health bodies (federal and commercial) in charge of regulating lighting are described here, along with the certifications they specifically grant for these items.

Certification Authorities

A non-profit organization called ANSI, or American National Standards Institute, is in charge of regulating the creation of voluntary consensus standards for goods, services, procedures, systems, and persons. Providers of lighting and food safety technologies both rely on ANSI to increase customer confidence in their offerings. 

NSF International and NEMA (both listed below) are accredited by ANSI to guarantee the precision of standards. Therefore, ANSI regulates the rules and regulators even if it does not regulate food goods directly.

On its website, NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) International states the following about themselves: Our goal is to safeguard and enhance human health on a worldwide scale. The establishment of public health standards and certifications that assist safeguard food, water, consumer items, and the environment is something that manufacturers, regulators, and customers turn to us to help with. We test, audit, and certify goods and systems as an independent, certified agency. We also offer training and risk management. Health agencies search for the NSF accreditation on your lights, and although though it is a private, independent non-profit organization, the NSF complies with all USDA and FDA food safety requirements.

NEMA, or the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, is a certifying body for electrical, manufacturing, and medical equipment that is accredited by ANSI. Because of its widely utilized enclosure ratings, which are intended to shield equipment from external damage caused by dust, liquids, etc., NEMA is significant to the food and beverage processing business. Although not necessary, NEMA standards are utilized as a marketing tool, industry reference, and best practice for lighting. Unlike NSF, NEMA does not conduct independent testing and instead relies on the manufacturer to ensure compliance.

For all electrical and electronic technology worldwide, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) creates and disseminates international standards. On a global scale, it is analogous to ANSI. Because of its globally known IP (Ingress Protection or International Protection) Ratings, which essentially inform consumers of all types of how well their lights will stand up against external factors, the IEC is significant for the food processing industry. NEMA enclosure ratings and certain IP ratings are comparable, although IP Ratings are acknowledged internationally rather than solely in the United States.

NSF Certified Lights

It’s difficult to become NSF certified lights. Products are assessed and tested yearly to ensure that they continue to fulfill high requirements and are secure in terms of their composition, manufacture, design, and performance. These NSF ratings are most likely applicable to the lighting in your food processing plant. The first two NSF labels are important for illumination and are as follows:

Food-Free Zone

As their name suggests, these fixtures are situated outside of washdown zones—regions that are regularly cleaned—and outside of areas with direct food contact. In kitchens or locations where food is stored, you could notice this rating.

Splash Area

Again, these fixtures are not in direct contact with food, but they are in a location that is frequently cleaned, splashed with water or other liquids, or is somehow contaminated. Splash zone illumination would therefore be required in every area that is cleaned or hosed down.

Food Area

The strictest designation is this one. It is only used for goods that come into touch with liquids and with food directly. We are extremely worried about the first two listed as it is seldom ever used for food lighting.

Ratings for NEMA Enclosures

According to NEMA standards, there are more than 12 enclosure ratings for illumination. The NEMA chart does the greatest job of illustrating the various protection levels.

IP Ratings

Two numbers make up an IP Rating. The first digit describes a light’s resistance to solids, such as dust and particles, and the second describes its resistance to liquids. Accordingly, a grade of 00 offers no protection from solids or liquids, and a rating of 64 would offer complete protection from dust and water splashing, etc. Lower IP Ratings are for less dangerous indoor use. For both solids and liquids, the scale ranges from 0 to 6, and you will always see that two-digit rating. You’ll need a high IP Rating for food processing, probably 65 or more.

Federal agencies with a focus on food safety

The federal government is involved in all facets of ensuring that our food is safe from harm, except commercial groups that certify food safe goods, like lighting. The agencies listed below could have opinions about the agencies listed above, which could have an impact on the items you can and ought to choose for your facilities. So it makes sense to remain up to date on their newest advice and news.

  • FDA. Food and Drug Administration.
  • US Department of Agriculture, or USDA
  • EPA. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) (an entity of the USDA)
  • CDC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Light Level Control

Through its Good Manufacturing Practices, FDA really controls light levels in the food and beverage manufacturing business. Additionally, they control various lighting-related safety procedures including bulb breakage. 

For more information on industrial lighting and fixtures for your facility or space, see our industrial lighting fixtures.

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