Difference between NF and USP Grade?
In order to successfully manage any industry, standards must be in place for products to be compared against. In the case of the chemical industry, there are two primary standards commonly known as USP Grade and NF Grade.
The two organizations, National Formulary (NF) and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) provide the standards for drugs, dosages, chemicals, preparations, and so on. This information is updated every year and published in a joint compendium, known as USP-NF.
Both organizations include standards for chemical grades, but there are differences between the two – not everything that the USP recognizes is recognized by the NF, and vice versa.
In order for a product to have an NF Grade, the product must meet all of the requirements as per the NF monograph (single study) for that particular product. If no study has been made for that product by the NF, the product cannot be labeled as NF Grade.
In order for a product to have a USP Grade, the product must meet the requirements as per the USP monograph. Again, if no study has been made for that product by the USP, the product cannot be labeled as USP Grade.
In either case, the products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and can be used in pharmaceutical processing, prescription compounding, and for use in food processing operations.
Exclusion from the USP-NF does not necessarily indicate that a product is unsuitable for any purpose, only that enough research has not yet been conducted to confirm its suitability and safety. However, for assurance of safety and suitability, it is recommended to use products that do have USP-NF grades.
A Brief History
Originally, NF and USP were entirely separate entities, but merged together in the 1970s. Since then an effort has been made to combine all the research made under one name – hence USP-NF Reference Standards.
The idea is to gradually phase out the use of NF completely. In due course, all NF Reference Standards will become USP Reference Standards.
For all intents and purposes, if a product is labelled as complying with NF, USP, or USP-NF standards, you can be assured of its suitability for purpose, and of its quality.
To further add to its importance and comprehensiveness, the USP acquired the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) in 2006, a compendium of internationally recognized standards for the purity and identity of food ingredients. The data from this compendium is now included within the USP-NF publication.
RightPath Industries carries full lines of NF and USP Grade chemicals. Please contact us for all of your chemical needs as we are a full line bulk chemical distributor.