Food Equipment Basics -
ASTM (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials)
known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM was founded in 1898
by a group of scientists and engineers in response to safety issues associated
with the railroad industry. Since then, the organization has grown to 30,000 members,
representing producers, users, consumers, government and academia from over 100
countries who serve on more than 130 committees such as steel, petroleum, medical
devices, property management, consumer products and many more. Membership is open
to individuals, organizations and businesses for a nominal fee and allows members
to serve on one or more of the ASTM committees.
ASTM International is a not-for-profit, voluntary standards
development organization that provides a global forum for the development and
publication of standards for materials, products, systems and services for industry,
government and the environment. ASTM does not do the actual product testing or
verify that a particular product is tested by the standards it develops although
a manufacturer may choose to indicate on its product label that its product was
tested according to ASTM standards. Primary funding for ASTM activities comes
from the sale of standards publications.
Standards are adopted on a consensus basis with input from
all interested parties including dissenting opinions. Once a request for standardization
is submitted, the ASTM staff evaluates and assigns the request to one of its committees.
The staff of ASTM does not determine which standards should be developed. Any
ASTM member who has an interest in the subject area covered by a committee can
participate in the development of its standards. The "Regulations Governing
ASTM Technical Committees" and the manual, "Form and Style for ASTM
Standards," are among the documents that govern the ASTM standards development
ASTM has published over 12,000 technical documents that establish
standards for manufacturing, management, procurement, codes, and regulations.
Although not mandatory, government entities often give ASTM standards the force
of law by citing them in laws, regulations and codes. Standards developed by ASTM
are used around the world by purchasers and sellers who incorporate them into
contracts; scientists and engineers who use them in their laboratories and offices;
and architects and designers who use them in their plans. Many others refer to
them for guidance. In the U.S., the 1995 National Technology Transfer and Advancement
Act requires government agencies to use privately developed standards whenever
possible and helps promote adoption of the standards offered by ASTM and similar
standards development organizations.
In the category of food service equipment, ASTM issued testing
standards for many types of equipment including the following, which can operate
on natural gas or electricity: