Food Grade Lubrication – Not All Products Are Created Equal
When dealing with manufacturing or packaging products that require food grade lubrication, it is essential to be conscious of what greases, degreasers, cleaners, seamers, etc that you may be using in your warehouse or facility because public health and safety are of the utmost importance. Lubricant products that are suitable for food and beverage applications must comply with safe food regulations and be registered NSF lubricants. NSF International is an independent, third-party organization that registers products for non-food compounds such as lubricants, cleaners, and water treatment chemicals found within processing facilities for food, beverage, and pharmaceuticals. Understanding the different food grade lubrication classifications – H1, H2, and H3 will support your facility in staying compliant with regulations and will provide optimal safety for consumers when inevitable contact through leakage or contamination through human error occurs.
H1 lubricants are tasteless, odorless, physiologically inert and are suitable for “Incidental, technically unavoidable contact with a food product up to 10ppm.” They are used for machinery such as pumps, conveyor belts, and mixers and for applications such as canning, blending, cooking, cutting, slicing, peeling, handling, bottling, and brewing. In facilities where food and beverage handling occurs, using NSF H1 registered lubricants allows for the elimination of potential contamination. Hazardous substances in and around food and beverage applications can be harmful to public health, therefor, choosing a quality H1 lubricant product not only minimizes the risk of contamination, but also ensures the longevity and performance of your equipment and machinery. H1 lubricants are safe for human consumption in small amounts – very few parts per million – so choose an NSF certified H1 lubricant from a reputable manufacturer.
H2 lubricants are considered to be food grade, but are not specifically food safe products. H2-specific lubricants are for machinery that doesn’t come in direct contact with food, such as a forklift. It is used in areas where there is no possibility of direct contact with food, beverages or pharmaceutical products. NSF H2 certified products must adhere to strict toxicology parameters and may not contain trace elements of “Carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, mineral acids or intentionally heavy metals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury or selenium.”
H3 lubricants are additives that can be used in the formulation of food-grade products. H3 lubricants are often “edible oils,” and are safe for human consumption such as corn oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, or cottonseed oil. H3 lubricants are inherently biodegradable, and meet FDA 21 CFR 172.860 and 172.878 regulations. They are considered to be safe (GRAS) – “an American FDA designation that a chemical or substance added to food is considered safe by experts, and so is exempted from the usual Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) food additive tolerance requirements.” H3 lubrications are often used to clean and prevent rust on equipment such as hooks, conveyor belts, and trolleys.
Cover Your Assets – Choose Food Grade Whenever Possible
When deciding whether to use a food grade lubricant product in your facility or not, erring on the side of caution is recommended. Food grade lubricant products are designed to protect and enhance your key assets in the same way that mineral-based lubricants do – against rust, wear, corrosion, oxidation, and friction, as well as transferring and dissipating heat. The only surefire way to eliminate the risk of contamination in food, beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturing environments is to choose NSF certified H1 products whenever possible. Speak with an SCL consultant today about choosing the right H1, H2 or H3 lubricant product to fit the needs of your specific application while meeting safety concerns as well as ensuring optimal levels of performance with your equipment.
Contact an SCL Consultant Today
In a wide range of industrial sectors, SCL is committed to being the number one logistics and solutions provider for the products that protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving. We pride ourselves on remaining at the forefront of industry trends and technological innovations, and as the market continues to evolve, we are committed to providing extensive product and industry knowledge and total performance satisfaction for our customers. For information on how we can assist your fleet in choosing the optimal products at a competitive price, contact an SCL consultant today.