Product Testing: Field Validation and Product Safety & Compliance Certification Cheri Panasik, Ph.D., Vice President of Engineering & Product Development, provides insight into the differences in types of product testing and how external validation can be used to evaluate foodservice equipment. There can be confusion in the foodservice industry when field validation testing and product safety & compliance certification testing are lumped into a single category. These are different tasks that address different aspects of product validation. Product Safety & Compliance Certification Product safety & compliance certification testing addresses specific items in the test standard, as identified by a third-party organization. This type of testing is conducted in a lab and does not examine the actual on customer site interaction between the user, the location and the product. If a product passes all third-party certification testing, it may be approved to display a certification mark. Examples of product safety & compliance certification testing that Antunes has conducted on products include: NSF ETL UL FM CE WQA Field Validation Frequently, product designers are easily able to design products which meet and pass specific certification test standards; however, the product may not pass field validation testing at the actual point of product use by customers. Field validation testing is conducted with actual users, in actual restaurants, and is designed to provide insight and detect human or location factors that can impact the product. Because it checks for other attributes, which may not be included in product safety & compliance certification testing, field validation testing can bring many new learnings and opportunities for improvement. In addition to third-party certification testing, and in-house verification and validation laboratory testing, Antunes also conducts failure modes and effects analysis, computer simulation testing and field validation testing to help ensure the equipment solutions work well in the customer facility and perform as expected. Overall, the differences between these two testing types can be summed up in the following chart: Product Safety & Compliance Certification Testing Customer Site Validation Testing Tested per a written standard Tested per operation’s requirements Usually required in foodservice equipment, medical devices and other types of products Not required by product safety & compliance certification agencies prior to product implementation Conducted in a lab Conducted in an operation Results in a certification mark Results in product insights and approval It is important to remember that just because a new product passed product safety & compliance certification testing doesn’t mean that it will pass field validation testing. A combination of certification testing and product validation testing provides a comprehensive look at a product’s ability to meet the operation’s needs. Antunes manufactures all of its products to the strictest quality standards. Learn more about this commitment to quality in the Antunes by the Numbers video.