Food Safe LED Lights

NSF food safe lights are lights that are certified by NSF international as appropriate for use in a food processing plant or prep facility. As outlined by strict regulations, NSF lights are completely washable, with no visible screws or orifices. NFS food safe lights must also not contain glass or other breakable materials. These may seem like impossibly high standards, but with LED lights, they're easy to reach. LEDs are uniquely well-suited to meeting these commercial lighting requirements. They are all designed without glass and their filament-less bulbs make it simple to produce a seamless fixture. In addition to this, LEDs don’t produce much heat and they don’t contain any harmful chemicals or toxins. And, as an added bonus, LEDs help you save money on energy and maintenance costs. So, if you’re looking for NSF-rated lighting, the experts at LED Lighting Supply can help. Get Your Free Food Safe LED Lighting Plan
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How many LED NSF Lights do you need?

The best and most accurate way to calculate this is to create a NSF fixture lighting plan.

A NSF Fixture lighting plan will provide you with a report detailing your indoor space. It details light location, light levels (foot candles) and how evenly distributed the light is over the entire area.

LED NSF Lighting plan showing what a lighting plan looks like

Everything in the food and beverage manufacturing industry has to be tested and approved for safe use around the products we consume, even the lighting.

But understanding the different certifying bodies and requirements that light fixtures are expected to meet can be confusing.

And, not to mention the special conditions required of the facility itself. The three most important concerns when it comes to food processing are to prevent:

Bacterial growth
Food spoilage

Because of these concerns, even the lights used for food processing facilities must have a high level of protection.

This includes protection against airborne dust, effluents, steam, mist, water, oils, grime, and cleaning solvents.

Finding lighting that meets the strict requirements of food processing plants and helps prevent these concerns can be challenging.

Below, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about NSF-rated lighting so that you can make the right choice for your facility.

NSF rated lighting

NSF Certification & Lighting 

NSF International is a non-profit, independent, 3rd party certifier of products used in the food processing industry.

Its primary goal is to maintain high safety standards for facilities that manufactures and distributes human consumables. 

Its strict measures and methods ensures that products are in compliance with the FDA and USDA.

Those products that are certified are allowed to display the NSF certification with their product. The NSF certification process is rigorous.

The product is evaluated and tested. The manufacturing plant is inspected. Once certified, the facility subject to yearly inspections to ensure the NSF standards are maintained.


IP Ratings

IP Ratings comprise of two rating digits.

The first digit refers to a light's protection against dust and other airborne particles.

The second digit refers to protection against liquids.

So, a IP00 rating provides no protection from solids or liquids. A rating of IP69 would provide the highest rated protection against dust and water.

The scale goes from 0-6 for both solids and 1 through 9 for liquids. For food processing, you're going to want a higher IP Rating, likely 65 or greater.

For high pressure wash down, you will want IP69. If you want to learn more about IP ratings, and what means what, read this.

IP Rating

What is IP69K?

IP69K is a water and dust ingress rating that is the highest that a fixture can achieve. It basically means the fixture can withstand high pressure, hot water jet sprays to clean the fixture.

Are IP69K rated fixtures also NSF Rated?

No. Once again, NSF is a certification all on its own. However, it is very likely that a NSF rated fixture is also IP69K rated.


The Stringent Standards of the Food & Bev Industry

NSF International has set strict standards that are based on a location’s condition and the extent of contact with food procedures.

The NSF standard that relates to food and beverage lighting products is referred to as NSF/ANSI Standard 2, or just NSF 2. 

Food processing plants have the highest standards of sanitation protocols and cleanliness and undergo frequent and stringent inspections.

Unsurprisingly the NSF  has stringent compliance standards. They look at a facility’s condition and the degree of contact with food, direct or indirect contact.

The foundation classifies equipment used in food processing environments into three zones:

 Splash Zone

In this area, direct contact with food isn't expected. Liquids used for cleaning can splash or spill on the fixtures surfaces.

In splash zones, high-pressure hose wash-downs occur. Splash zones include damp or wet process areas.

These are areas that use hose wash-downs, and high-pressure purging or decontamination areas.

 Food Zone

In this zone, there is direct contact with food. The food zone certification usually applies to equipment not related to lighting, like work tables and cutting boards.

So although there are extremely strict requirements for the equipment in these areas, none apply to lighting.

For more details on these, we recommend checking out the NSF's website here.

Non-food Zone

In this zone, there isn't any direct contact with food under normal working conditions.

Light fixtures are not exposed to wash downs. Lights need to be well protected against dirt, dust and cleaning products.

Non-food zones include food storage areas, dry and damp process areas, and kitchens.

Since light fixtures never come into contact with food while being processed,  the only 2 zones NSF regulates are Splash Zones and Non Food Zones

NSF International requires beverage and food facilities use IP65 to I969K rated light fixtures. The higher the rating, the better protected the light is from water.

IP69K allows for high pressure, hot water washdowns, where as IP65 rated is good for locations that get wet, but are not dealing with high pressure, high heat jets of water.

food processing lighting

Complying with Food Safety Standards

Now that you know about the requirements, it's time to learn how to meet them.

The great thing about LED lighting is that they can comply with the strict requirements set by the USA Department of Agriculture and the FDA.

The FDA suggest the following light standard in food manufacturing facilities:

Areas where food employees work with food equipment or utensils and safety is paramount: 54 foot candles

Locations where packaged food is sold or provided for consumption and in self-service areas: 22 foot candles

30 inches above the floor in dry storage areas and walk-in refrigeration areas: 12 foot candles

Poultry, Dairy and Meat processors that want to comply with USDA regulations for inspections have to comply with the following criteria.

Locations where dairy food items are produced. packaged or cleaned: 30 foot candles

Locations where utensils are packaged or manufactured: 30 foot candles

Areas or spaces where product contamination is possibly: 50 foot candles

Food inspection areas and stations: 50 to 200 foot candles

LED Technology Is More Than Up To The  Stringent Standards of the Food Industry

There are 3 things food processing lights must be able to do in order to meet the needs of a food processing facility:


    1. Be easy to clean. This decreases the risk of contamination. It also lower lighting maintenance costs and downtime with their long lifespans
    2. Be bright enough to enhance visibility for employees in the facility. The light should not cause blinding glare or cast shadows which may be the cause of accidents
    3. Meet all the government and industry regulations relating to food quality and safety.

LED lights have unique properties that make them highly suitable for different operations in the food industry. They include:

Long operating life

High Impact robust housings
Super bright high quality light
Low heat emissions

nsf food safe lighting
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