Partnership will initially focus on food safety education and expand to include hand washing, green living, dietary supplement and kitchen appliance safety

ANN ARBOR, Mich. and BOISE, Idaho — NSF International and the Healthy House Institute (HHI) are partnering to help educate consumers on a variety of home health and safety topics.  NSF, a public health and safety organization, will provide content for the HHI website on food safety, hand washing, nutritional supplements, green living, and proper cleaning and maintenance of home appliance products.

NSF International is a global organization that writes product standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, nutritional supplements and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment.  As part of its mission, NSF International helps educate consumers on important human health topics, and HHI is committed to helping consumers make their homes healthier.

“We believe this partnership between NSF International and the Healthy House Institute will help consumers worldwide live healthier, initially by teaching them about how to improve their health and safety behavior in the home,” said Allen Rathey, Healthy House Institute President.  “Consumers have become much more safety minded.  Not only are they concerned about home safety, but they also seek out products that have been tested and certified against safety and quality standards by an independent organization.  NSF International is the perfect partner to provide content for HHI, as they provide public health and safety services and test and certify a wide range of products, including nutritional supplements and home appliances.”

While NSF International will initially provide web content regarding safe food handling and preparation in the home, future topics will focus on proper hand washing, green living, nutritional supplement safety and proper cleaning and maintenance of home appliances.

“We look forward to working with the Healthy House Institute to help further educate consumers about how they can protect their family’s health,” said Robert Donofrio, Ph.D., Director of NSF International’s Applied Research Center, which conducts primary research to advance public health in water safety, food safety, as well as healthcare and consumer products.  Dr. Donofrio, who also serves on the Healthy House Institute’s Advisory Board, added “Together, we can provide consumers with the information they need to make educated decisions about the products they purchase for better health.”

A recent independent survey conducted on behalf of NSF International indicated that consumers are concerned about the safety of their food, nutritional supplements and over-the-counter (OTC) medications as well as the overall quality and safety of products used in the home, including kitchen appliances.  In fact, more than half of the respondents indicated concerns about the quality and safety of kitchen appliances, cookware materials and their coatings.  Additionally, respondents who take dietary supplements daily (60 percent) tend to be more concerned about OTC medications than the general public (59 percent vs. 55 percent).  This may be why 73 percent of those surveyed said they look for independent certification marks or seals of approval on products when shopping.

Through the partnership, NSF also hopes to educate more consumers about the importance of choosing certified home products.  NSF has a 70-year history in certifying commercial foodservice equipment and last year began to apply this experience by developing a similar program focused on products used in the home.  The NSF Home Product Certification (HPC) program builds on, but is separate from NSF’s commercial food equipment program, by helping to ensure the safety, performance and quality of home consumer products and appliances such as cookware, blenders and coffee makers. These products are tested to confirm that they meet criteria such as quality, performance, food contact and cleanability.  The last factor is particularly important for preventing foodborne illness.

“Germs often gather in places we don't think about cleaning, which is why NSF's Home Product Certification program tests the cleanability of the products that bear the NSF Certified for Home Use mark, in addition to testing performance and durability,” said Lisa Yakas, a microbiologist who is Senior Project Manager for NSF’s Consumer Products Division. “When consumers purchase kitchen appliances certified by NSF, they’ll know that NSF also has verified the manufacturer’s cleaning directions, hence following these directions will help prevent the harboring of germs that can cause foodborne illnesses."

Through the NSF Applied Research Center, Yakas and Dr. Donofrio conduct an annual study on household germs and the most recent study focused on kitchen products. To help educate consumers about proper cleaning of these appliances, NSF recently released a list of the top six places in which foodborne illness-causing germs can hide when kitchen tools and appliances are not properly cleaned.  These items included:

  • Refrigerator vegetable compartment: Salmonella, Listeria, yeast and mold
  • Refrigerator meat compartment: Salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold
  • Blender gasket: Salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold
  • Can opener: Salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold
  • Rubber spatula: E. coli, yeast and mold
  • Food storage container with rubber seal: Salmonella, yeast and mold

For more information about the partnership between NSF International and the Healthy House Institute, or to schedule an interview with an NSF home safety expert, contact Greta Houlahan at 734-913-5723 or houlahan@nsf.org.

Consumer product manufacturers interested in learning more about NSF’s consumer products and private label services can contact NSF at homeproducts@nsf.org, 877-520-5224 or visit nsfhomeproducts.org.

About NSF International: NSF International (nsf.org) has been testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment for nearly 70 years. As an independent public health and safety organization, NSF is committed to protecting and improving human health on a global scale. NSF protects families by testing and certifying thousands of consumer goods each year, including kitchen products and appliances, personal care products, dietary and sport supplements, bottled water, pool and spa equipment, water treatment systems, plumbing fixtures and many other products used in homes every day. Look for the NSF mark on these products.

NSF International’s Applied Research Center (ARC) provides original research and custom R&D services for the water, food, pharma, consumer products and sustainability industries. ARC establishes strategic partnerships with academia, industry and regulatory bodies for research and development projects geared to furthering public health. ARC’s team of scientists, technical experts and public health professionals perform confidential research and development analyses in chemistry, microbiology and toxicology and test and validate manufacturer and environmental claims to efficiently and economically improve product marketability.

About The Healthy House Institute®: The Healthy House Institute® (HHI) - www.HealthyHouseInstitute.com - provides consumers information to make their homes healthier. HHI strives to be the most comprehensive educational resource available for creating healthier homes. To this end, HHI treats the home like an ecosystem with many interrelated parts, covering topics in-depth such as air and water quality, building, remodeling and furnishing, cleaning and housekeeping, health and safety, ventilation, lighting, energy efficiency and more.

HHI seeks to reach a mainstream educated consumer with credible information merging the best of ‘green’ with the best of healthier homes research, indoor environmental data, health and medical science, into a practical, timely, easily digestible but comprehensive message. HHI strives to be a truly authoritative voice that has the ‘ear’ and trust of major media, influentials, and most importantly, the intelligent consumer.

"How big an impact will a method, product, system or service have on human health at home?" The greater the impact, the more the information will belong on the HHI site.