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ELGI Discussed Global Regulations for Food-Grade Lubricants Designations in 2014 Annual Meeting

In the recently held European Lubricating Grease Institute annual meeting, guest speaker and Fragol GmbH+Co. KG international sales director Andre Adam raised the issue of reassessing the global regulations to set standards and testing methods for food-grade lubricants mineral oil hydrocarbons, given that no government body has handled it since 1998.

Food-grade lubricants are vital to production process in the food manufacturing industries. Without them, the food processing and manufacturing machinery are at risk of heat, wear and tear, and exposure to hazardous chemicals that could then contaminate the food products.

Hence, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the H1, H2 and H3 food-grade designations for food-grade oils. These designations aim to protect the quality, safety, and integrity of food products in all areas of food processing applications.

In a nutshell, H1 lubricants refer to  machinery oil used in food-processing environments with the possibility of incidental food contact; H2 lubricants refer to the oil used in machinery and parts in locations that no possibility of contact with the food; and H3 lubricants refer to the oil made of edible ingredients that lubricates the hooks, trolleys, and similar parts for machinery preventive maintenance measures.

Aside from the USDA, NSF International – formerly known as National Sanitation Foundation – has made progress by publishing a set of standards and certification requirements for consumer protection and public safety concerning food-grade lubricants with USDA’s standards as a pattern.

In other news, NSF International announces the designation HX-1 for ingredients use in H1 lubricants. Additional registration categories are also in place for lubricants with special applications that may come into contact with food during use, such as the HT-1 category for heat transfer fluids used in primary and secondary heating and cooling systems in food-processing plants.

Today, food-grade lubricants have taken on a new target when it comes to food safety during production. The requirements for lubricant use on food manufacturing companies are now regulated in order to reassure consumers that their products are safe for consumption.

Grease Technology Solutions LLC president and principal consultant Chuck Coe also underscored that high-performance food-grade lubricants containing synthetic polyurea and calcium sulphate with H1 certification are set to be available in the market. “Finding ingredients to manufacture food-grade lubricants that meet regulatory requirements but also the performance aspects of the manufacturing processes will continue to be an ongoing challenge for the lubricants industry,” says Ashlee Breitner, NSF International’s Nonfood Compounds Program business unit manager.

Along with the evolution of cutting-edge food manufacturing machinery, food-grade lubricants must be with synchronized with the latest technologies and compliant with USDA and/or NSF International’s regulations.

The Industrial Lubricant Store (ILS) offers a full spectrum of OEM-quality food-grade lubricants that are specifically formulated to cater the unique needs of diverse industrial food services equipment. Check out our comprehensive product line at today.

About the Author
Randy Renick
Randy Renick has a Bachelor's degree from LSU. He is an STLE Certified Lubrication Specialist and has a 29 year work history in Industrial Lubrication. He is currently a Lubricant Consultant at The Industrial Lubricant Store.

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