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NSF Sneeze Guard Requirements

Self Service Sneeze Guards

Self Service sneeze guards, also called Buffet sneeze guards, shield the displayed food while still allowing the customer access.    A self 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.    There are maximum gaps and spaces as well as required End Panels to prevent a customer from contaminating the food from the sides. Customer access is limited to the front side of the sneeze guard.

Figure 1

  1. On any self 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 20 inches.    The angle of the shield can vary. Either X or Y may equal 0.(
  2. The maximum gap between the counter and the front leading edge of the shield is 13". (
  3. End panels are required for all shields that are not within 3" of a wall. The maximum gap from the bottom edge of the end panel and counter is 1.5" (
  4. The minimum distance between the food being served and the leading edge of the shield is 3/4 of the shield clearance. (

Other NSF Guideline Pages

NSF-Full Service

Self Service Sneeze Guards       (figure 1)