DEGREASERS

For a food, beverage, cosmetic or pharmaceutical company, or any other firm that manufactures products that will be directly consumed or used by people, processes must be highly scrutinized for cleanliness, contamination, sanitation and quality. For this reason, such companies have a particularly difficult task when it comes to lubrication – not just the task of lubricating correctly, but in determining which lubricant to use and where.

Food-grade Lube Performance

As with any lubricant, food-grade lubricants must meet the needs of proper lubrication. That means a lubricant must provide the metal-to-metal surface separations, contain performance properties like anti-wear (AW) and rust and oxidation inhibitors (RO), and employ any other performance properties and base oil classifications that the application requires. In addition to these typical needs, food-grade lubricants must also stand up to a wide range of contamination issues. For example, in a meat processing plant, equipment is subjected to large amounts of steam and high-pressure caustic water cleaning. Lubricants in these types of facilities must withstand the probability of water washout as well as help in controlling rust formation within bearings and gearboxes.

Another requirement of food-grade lubricants is their need to withstand contaminants (like sugars, dust, chemicals, etc.) that occur as a direct result of the manufacturing process.

While most facilities requiring food-grade lubricants are conscientious of the operation and condition of their equipment, lubricant leakage does happen. Leaks can cause a severe amount of downtime, ranging from containing the leak to documentation to clean-up. Food-grade lubes are made and required to be tasteless, odorless and physiologically inert. These properties greatly reduce the hazard level that lubricant exposure has on the product.

Food-grade lubricants also should be able to withstand and deter the growth of fungi, bacteria and other pathogens. The formation of bacteria is very likely in the wet environments of meat processing plants. Bacterial contamination is another critical factor to consider and control in the food and beverage industry.

Lubricant Classifications

Historically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were responsible for compiling, determining, and writing the standards and classifications for food-grade lubricants. In February 1998, the USDA changed the way manufacturers assessed and organized the usage of food-grade lubricants. It allowed manufacturers to assess each point in production and determine its critical limit for risk of contamination, which warranted the decision to use food-grade or non-food-grade lubricants. This led the way for development of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program.

The primary current food-grade lubricant classifications are:

  • H1: Lubricants used in food processing environments where there is the possibility of incidental food contact.
  • H2: Non-food-grade lubricants used on equipment and machine parts in locations where there is no possibility of contact.
  • H3: Food-grade lubricants, typically edible oils, used to prevent rust on hooks, trolleys and similar equipment.
  • 21.CFR 178.3570: Outlines allowed ingredients for the manufacture of H1 lubricants
  • 21.CFR 178.3620: White mineral oil as a component of non-food articles intended for use in contact with food
  • 21.CFR 172.878: USP mineral oil for direct contact with food
  • 21.CFR 172.882: Synthetic iso-paraffinic hydrocarbons
  • 21.CFR 182: Substances generally recognized as safe

In order for food-grade lubricants to be classified in one of these three categories, they must comply with certain codes within the FDA’s Title 21. These codes dictate and approve what ingredients can be used in a particular food-grade lubricant that may incur incidental contact. Samples of the FDA Title 21 codes are:

  • 21.CFR 178.3570: Outlines allowed ingredients for the manufacture of H1 lubricants
  • 21.CFR 178.3620: White mineral oil as a component of non-food articles intended for use in contact with food
  • 21.CFR 172.878: USP mineral oil for direct contact with food
  • 21.CFR 172.882: Synthetic iso-paraffinic hydrocarbons
  • 21.CFR 182: Substances generally recognized as safe

Even though H1-classified food-grade lubricants are made with the ideology of incidental contact with food, the allowable lubricant contamination constituted by the FDA is 10 parts per million.

About Triflow

TriFlow India is a pioneer company specialized in providing high quality lubricants and its maintenance. We are mainly into supplying lubricants, grease as well as synthetic food grade lubricants to large and medium scale industries.

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TriFlow India #179,3rd Main, PADMESHWARI NAGAR, VIRGONAGAR POST, BANGALORE - 560 049

sales@triflowindia.com

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