NO. NSF can't really certify a hot dog cart.
That's what I say – of course I'm just a lowly hot dog slinger.
(please read and let me know what you think below)
Who is NSF? NSF International is a private company stating; “NSF International is dedicated to being the leading global provider of public health and safety-based risk management solutions while serving the interests of all stakeholders, namely the public, the business community and government agencies.” You can read more here.
NSF is one of three companies that I'm aware of that can test and certify compliance to ANSI standards, however they create some on their own as well.
Some state inspectors will inform you that you must have an NSF approved cart. There are two problems with this statement right off the bat and another really important one below.
- NSF doesn't approve anything, they only certify compliance to a specific standard.
- NSF is a private company and any state that requires or singles them out as the only accepted company for certification is violating Constitutional Law. It would be like your state requiring you to only get prescriptions filled at Walgreens or only allowing you to have your car repaired at Pep Boys.
Now I must ask; If a state can require you to only use a cart certified to NSF Standard 59, then how can they NOT require a restaurant to have the entire building tested and certified?
If a vendor is using compliant products, say; NSF stamped pans, lids, water lines, etc… then how can the State require the tires, axles, wheels, frame, tow hitch, chains, tail lights and blinkers be certified? These are not food prep areas! Period!
Yet a couple of States do require you to have a certified cart or be compliant. It appears that the State codes are not consistent in regards to public safety. Could it be that these are prejudiced and unscrupulous laws and codes in order to protect the restaurant owners? You will find that some states create a committee to advise and discuss laws and codes that are to be implemented. Who do you think they gather; hot dog vendors or restaurant owners?
I anxiously await the day when the Institute for Justice or ACLU take on these unethical and unjust laws.
I told you above that I would present yet another problem with this whole NSF Standard 59 requirement by a few states, well I'm going to give you two more:
- Standard 59 only allows for one sink on a cart, yet we have states that require more, all the while demanding compliance to the Standard. This is a blatant contradiction.
- This really takes the cake;
Straight from NSF/ANSI Standard 59 (use is protected under the FAIR USE ACT)
Below read the “scope” of the Standard. Note that it uses the term; Mobile Food Carts and does not apply to food catering trucks or “motor vehicle mounted equipment.”. So what is a Mobile Food Cart according to Standard 59? See below…
Definition according to the NSF/ANSI STANDARD 59
According to NSF/ANSI STANDARD 59 – NSF's scope of testing does not apply to any motor vehicle mounted food service equipment. Your towable, DOT approved cart is mounted on what? A motor vehicle, according to NTSB and DOT. Hmmmmmm.
Has NSF been testing compliance, charging manufacturers thousands of dollars for certifications on something they can not test? Have some States adopted regulations that expressly limit and contradict the Standard?
I ask you? Please share, tweet, pass this on to the vendor groups you participate in and let me know in the comments below what you think. You may want to even share this with your State officials.
Tune into Hot Dog Vendor Radio tomorrow for more.