3-A? What’s that?

3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc. (3-A SSI) is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to educating the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries and ensuring public health through hygienic equipment design.  This is accomplished by developing industry standards and by executing a validation program to measure compliance.  The “3-A” initially referred to the three associations benefiting from the oversight, the regulatory sanitarians, the food and beverage processors and the equipment fabricators.  When the symbol was first introduced in 1956, the certification and licensing process was informal.  As the year 2000 approached, the professional organization surfaced and began to handle all of the administrative functions.  The primary or most important function was the TPV or Third Party Verification process, which is now required in order to use or display the 3-A symbol.  The verification process involves a rigorous equipment inspection by someone approved by 3-A SSI, and they are evaluating the equipment design for its ability to be cleaned and inspected.  Therefore, 3-A SSI and its standards serve an important role in the safety of food manufacturing.  3-A SSI simply grants the right to display the symbol on equipment, and it does not endorse any particular brand of equipment.

If you are searching for food processing equipment that has passed the stringent TPV process, you should confirm that the equipment is authorized to display the trademarked 3-A symbol, and this can done by visiting www.3-a.org.  3-A SSI regularly publishes alerts when it encounters entities that are not authorized but are displaying the symbol.  Additional information on the site includes TPV program information, CCE or Certified Conformance Evaluator information, general requirements and authorization information.  If you would like to reach out to the 3-A SSI organization directly, their contact information follows: 

6888 Elm Street, Suite 2D
McLean, Virginia  22101
Phone: (703)790-0295 Fax: (703)761-6284