food processing lights
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NSF Zone Classifications for Industrial Food Processing Lights

November 7, 2017

The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) governs the application of food processing lights for manufacturing facilities, as well as commercial kitchens. For lighting systems, the non-profit public health agency classifies certain food-related locations into the following categories: Non-food Zone, Splash Zone and Food Zone.

This article provides information about each NSF classification, under the NSF C-2 listing procedure.

Non-food Zone

Starting with non-food zone areas, this level of certification is for dry-processing locations, storage rooms and commercial kitchens. The lamps do not normally feature extreme resistance to high-pressure jets or corrosive cleaning agents. Therefore, the fixtures should not be used in sections of the facility that exposes the units to persistent washdowns. The possibility of contamination is also high with non-food zone lamps.

Splash Zone

This type of location in the facility does not regularly come in direct contact with food. Instead, the NSF-rated lamps are constantly exposed to splashes from washdown sessions. Because of this, food processing lights should be designed to withstand wet or damp locations (depending on the application). Glass lens is not typically used for splash-zone fixtures, due to the possibility of breakage, when exposed to high-pressure jets. The fixtures should also offer some form of corrosion resistance to deter cleaning solvents or agents.

Food Zone

Food zones, as the name of the classification suggests, are locations that handle consumable products, usually at their final stages of processing. It is important to highlight that materials for food zone fixtures can also be used in non-food zone and splash zone lights. Interestingly, other types of equipment can be found in this category, including chopping boards, industrial tables and conveyor systems that push food products to various sections of the establishment.

In addition to observing NSF classifications, food processing facilities must also adhere to FDA and USDA guidelines. To purchase hazardous area lighting fixture please visit

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