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(NSF: Ann Arbor, MI) -- 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 and store brand home products such as housewares and small appliances.
Manufacturers of private-label products must meet multiple regulatory and retailer requirements. The 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 program was developed in response to several trends. Although private-label goods are a strong source of revenue for many retailers, they also pose significant risks to a retailer’s brand if the goods do not 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. Although consumers generally regard private-label products as safe, more than 80 percent of U.S. 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, which entrust their brands to private-label products.
The 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.
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’s online listings so retailers, supply-chain members, and consumers can easily identify certified products. To search the products and services that NSF certifies, visit the Product and Service Listings page.
“Manufacturers of private-label home products must meet varying sets of retailer testing and regulatory requirements,” says Sarah Krol, general manager of the Consumer Products Division at NSF International. “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 because they can now look for the NSF Certified for Home Use Mark to easily identify products that have been tested for safety and quality.”
The NSF Home Product Certification program will focus initially on kitchen products and housewares (e.g., food storage containers, cookware, and bake ware) as well as small appliances (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 others items.
The new program complements a 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 and store brand products meet retailers’ quality standards, are comparable to national brands, and comply with consumer product regulations.