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Certification of Environmental Monitoring Equipment

  • Date: Jan 01 1974
  • Policy Number: 7409

Key Words: Environmental Health

Early in its development, the food industry recognized the serious problem facing individual food purveyors when purchasing food service equipment. There was little expertise within the food equipment industry concerning necessary equipment construction standards to insure maintenance of the sanitary quality of foods. Determinations of equipment adequacy were made by local regulatory agencies charged with insuring that environmental standards were observed.

These public health officials, acting without national standards or guidelines, made individual determinations regarding equipment construction. This resulted in chaos, with new equipment being deemed adequate in some jurisdictions and inadequate in others. The principle of caveat emptor reigned supreme.

Public health officials and industry leaders recognized the need for an independent testing facility which could objectively evaluate equipment and certify equipment meeting minimum standards. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) was created to fill this need.

NSF has since filled other voids where this type of certification has been found necessary. Examples are the certification of plastic pipe for potable water use, and the certification of swimming pool equipment. Since its inception, NSF has established a reputation for fair, impartial standards and testing procedures and reliable certification.

Currently, the status of environmental equipment is similar to that of food service equipment before the inception of NSF, fraught with problems of designing, selling, and selecting accurate and reliable air, water, and radiation monitoring devices. There is now no independent organization which evaluates such equipment and provides certification. Both industry and the regulatory agencies lack standards and certification procedures for such equipment. One state agency has invested $16,000 in worthless monitoring equipment and the same situation has occurred in any agency which has invested substantial sums in such equipment.

There is an urgent need for independent certification of environmental equipment to insure that minimal standards are met before equipment is sold to an unsuspecting public. There are a number of independent laboratories which are working in this field and may have the capability of providing this service. APHA will identify appropriate laboratories and encourage their development of standards and certification procedures for environmental equipment.

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