If you are from North Carolina, please go to the bottom of the page for a special note.
Some states do require carts to meet nsf standard 59, our carts do meet and exceed these standards. I don’t want to bore you to tears, but this is important. NSF, found at http://www.NSF.org is a private organization; they are not a government entity. They are known among the industry for certifying compliance to specific standards. Underwriters Labs is another one. You may be more familiar with U.L., and you have surely seen the U.L. mark on products before. U.L. is another organization that certifies compliance to Standard 59.
Some uninformed HD inspectors will state that their rules require all food equipment to be ‘NSF approved.’ Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! I have yet to see a state with a rule that says this. If you find one, you will have a good case for a lawsuit. Can you imagine the state rules or codes saying that you must purchase all your prescription drugs at CVS? Or, what if they told you that you could only shop at Kmart? Well, they don’t; this would violate Federal Laws. What happens is, a zealous inspector will read, “. . . all food equipment must meet Standard 59 and/or be certified through an independent agency such as NSF.”
Some states don’t even require this at all. Only the areas where food is stored, prepared and cooked must be certified to Standard 59 in most states. They don’t want you cooking hot dogs in an open dirt fire pit, but some states may only require you purchase commercial grade cooking utensils and materials, e.g. pans, lids and tongs.
What if your HD person tells you this? Simple. Ask to see the rule or code that specifically states this. If they pull it out, and you show them the error of their ways and they continue to be ignorant, then just call the State Director. All of these fine folks have a boss. Call the State Board of Health, or whatever it’s called in your state, and talk directly to the Director or the Director’s Assistant.
I found in one instance where a HD employee was telling this potential vendor the same thing. I called and spoke with her and she didn’t admit her error. I called the State Director and he verified my position and called the county HD office. Still, this woman refused to reconsider her opinion. Later I found that she had family members with restaurants in the area and was simply trying to protect them from the evil HDV. I am told she no longer works with the HD.
Again, I am not trying to scare you. I want you to be educated as much as possible, so that in the event you face an ignorant HD employee with a chip on his or her shoulder, you will be well informed and prepared to take a stand.
Yes, you could just buy a NSF certified cart for about $1,000 more, but why would you? This process takes months and months, and thousands of dollars so I can understand why a manufacturer must charge more for a certified compliant cart. This isn’t an option for most, like me, when you are starting out. Funds are limited or non-existent.
For those in North Carolina, we are approved statewide under their new regulations. If you have any trouble or are told you must have an NSF cart, please contact me directly and I will forward you a letter from the State of NC approving our carts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org