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NSF Sneeze Guard Requirements

Full Service Sneeze Guards

Full Service sneeze guards, also called Pass-Over sneeze guards, prevent the customer from contaminating or accessing the displayed food.    A full service sneeze guard is designed to protect the displayed food from contamination by bacteria or other germs which can result from people sneezing, coughing, or even simple exhalation at close distances to the food.    The sneeze guard also prevent a custom from physically accessing the food.    There are maximum gaps and spaces as well as required End Panels to prevent a customer from reaching around the sneeze guard to access the displayed food.

Figure 1

  1. On any full service guard the sum of a food shield's protected horizontal plane (X) and it protected vertical plane (Y) shall be greater than or equal to 24 inches.    For example if the guard is 18" high it must have a top shelf at lease 6" deep. (
  2. The maximum gap between the counter and the bottom of the front panel is 1 1/2". (
  3. The maximum gap between the front panel and the top shelf is 3/4". (
  4. End panels are required for all shields that are not within 3" of a wall. (
  5. The minimum distance between the food being served and the front panel is 1 1/2". (

Usually a full service sneeze guard has a front shield, and a top shelf.    The top shelf contributes to the overall shielding of the food and provides a surface for the server to pass the food to the customer.    The top shelf allows the overall height of the sneeze guard to be reduced, which facilitate the verbal exchange between the server and the customer.    In figure 2 the top shelf has been eliminated and the shield is tilted back further.    This configuration still meets the NSF ( criteria as long as sum of the X and Y components is greater or equal to 24 inches.    This sneeze guard style is sometimes referred to as a Chipotle style because they use it in their restaurant chain.   

Always review your plans with your local health department.

NSF-Full Service

Full Service Sneeze Guards       (figure 1)

NSF-Full Service

Full Service Sneeze Guards       (figure 2)