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What is ANSI, and why is ANSI labeling important?

What is ANSI all about? What does it mean and what is it for? Why is ANSI labeling important, and how can I do it?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit membership organization founded in 1918 by three government agencies and five engineering societies. Today, ANSI membership includes companies, government agencies, organizations, institutions, as well as international members. ANSI administers and coordinates the United States voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system.

The mission of the American National Standards Institute is to "enhance both the global competitiveness of US business and the US quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity". ANSI is active in both national and international standardization.

American National Standards (ANS)

ANSI does not develop standards or interpret the American National Standards. ANSI does provide interested parties with a neutral way to work towards agreement on standards. ANSI provides the forum for standard developers representing organizations in the private and public sectors to work together to cooperatively develop voluntary national consensus standards and American National Standards (ANS).

ANSI aids in the development of American National Standards through ANSI accreditation of the procedures followed by the standard developing organizations. Standard developers are required to follow accreditation procedures known as the "ANSI Essential Requirements: Due Process Requirements for American National Standards". These requirements govern the consensus development process. Due process ensures that American National Standards are developed in a manner that is equitable and responsive to the needs of the varied stakeholders, and that all the interested or affected parties have an opportunity to participate in the process.

ANSI works with many standard developing groups to develop voluntary national consensus standards. ANSI estimates there are hundreds of traditional standards developing organizations, with ninety percent of the standards being produced by the top twenty largest standards developers. In addition, there are hundreds of non-traditional standards developing organizations. Standards developing groups are comprised of committees of experts addressing the technical needs of standards within their areas of expertise. The thousands of volunteers contributing their efforts to the development of standards include individuals, companies, consumer, industrial and labor organizations, and government agencies.

ANSI Accreditation

Several hundred standard developers are accredited by ANSI. For a standard to be approved as an American National Standard, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) must verify that the standards developer has met all of the requirements of the approval criteria such as consensus and due process. Receiving ANSI Accreditation shows that procedures were used by that standards developing organization to meet ANSI's due process requirements which include openness, balance, and consensus. To maintain ANSI accreditation, standards developers must consistently follow the "ANSI Essential Requirements" governing the consensus development process.


"Consensus" means that all views and objections were considered, effort was made toward their resolution, and substantial agreement was reached by the affected parties. The American National Standards are referred to as "open standards", involving the principles of consensus which are: due process and openness, data gathering. and compromises among the diverse stakeholders.

American National standards are developed in an environment that is equitable and accessible, with 'due process' being the key to responding to the needs of the many diverse stakeholders. This open and fair process of consensus ensures all parties that have an interest and are affected have opportunity to participate in the development of a standard. ANSI's accreditation process also protects the public interest since standard developers must meet ANSI's due process steps regarding openness, consensus, and balance.

International Standardization

ANSI promotes the international use of US Standards. ANSI is the only US representative member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). ANSI was a founding member of ISO and has a strong leadership role in that organization as well as in IEC, and participates in most of the technical programs of both organizations.

'Conformity Assessment' is the process used by manufacturers and independent third parties for determining that standard requirements are fulfilled. This process is a high priority for ANSI, and they continue to grow their accrediting programs for third-party certification, and continue to work towards their goal of global standardization.

ANSI continues for work towards their primary goal of enhancing the global competitiveness of business and quality-of-life in the United States, by promoting and aiding voluntary consensus standards.

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