What is a ‘Food Grade’ Lubricant?

When it comes to food, drinks, and medication, health and safety are amongst the most important factors to consider for manufacturers. Nevertheless, these manufacturers must also practice apt hygiene and cleanliness standards. During the manufacturing process, the production equipment used often requires proper lubrication to maintain proper functionality. Consequently, these manufacturers must ensure the use of quality and safe food-grade lubricants.
This is because lubricant leakage is almost inevitable, given the kinetic nature of manufacturing and production equipment. That being said, food-processing, as well as pharmaceutical industries, must ensure that they select an adequate lubricant that is safe or suitable for consumption upon accidental contact with the food or drug.

What is a Food-Grade Lubricant?
A food-grade, also known as a food-safe lubricant, is a particular type of lubrication that is suitable for food and drug processing equipment, application and plants. FM greases, synthetic FM gear oils and USP white oils are some of the types of food-safe lubricants. These lubricants must be capable of executing similar technical tasks like any other lubricant, be accordant with rubbers as well as any other sealing materials, provide security against corrosion, friction, wear and oxidation, and in some cases, provide a sealing effect. Furthermore, other applications within the food and drug industry require these lubricants to display impartial conduct toward elastomers and plastics, withstand food degradation, water/steam, and other chemicals, and be capable of dissolving sugars. Aside from these oils being required to be tasteless, odorless, physiologically inert and internationally approved, they must also comply with all FDA regulations.

Why are the Types of Food-Grade Lubricants?
There are three original food-grade designations that we’re created by the United States Department of Agriculture, H1, H2, and H3.

H1 food-grade lubricants are the lubricants utilized in food-processing habitats where there is a chance of incidental contact with the food. These lubricants are often utilized to lubricate types of machinery such as mixers, pumps, and conveyor belts. Additionally, they are used for cooking, slicing, cutting, brewing, peeling, and bottling applications in applicable facilities, ultimately eliminating the possibility of contamination.

H2 food-grade lubricants are the lubricants that are utilized for the lubrication of machine and equipment parts where there is no chance of incidental contact with foods or drugs. These lubricants are not safe for human consumption and are often used on forklifts and other machinery.

H3 food-grade lubricants are generally edible oils that are safe for human consumption. They are typically found in foods such as corn oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. These lubricants meet FDA regulations and are biodegradable, and are often utilized to clean and prevent rust on trolleys, conveyor belts, and hooks

Just about every food and drug handling and manufacturing application requires the use of food-safe lubricants. Consequently, it is vital that everyone understands the difference between H1, H2, and H3 lubricants in order to properly select the type of food-grade lubricant.

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