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Food Grade Oil Formulation Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), in conjunction with the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International, highlighted the significance of food-grade oil formulation requirements in adherence to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21, §178.3570. This designated code covers the in-depth evaluation of the ingredients, such as approved basestocks, additives, and thickeners, used in food–grade lubricant formulation. This is to ensure that all food-processing products are certified free of intentionally added heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury, or antimony and harmful elements like carcinogens, mutagens, mineral acids, or teratogens.

There are three major aspects in evaluation criteria, namely: food-grade lubricants, evaluation requirements, and formulation ingredients. The USDA created the original food-grade oil designations including H1, H2, and H3 categories exclusively for the food processing industry. H1 lubricants comprise all oils in food processing facilities prone to food contact while H2 lubricants are those used for food processing equipment or machine parts. Whereas, H3 lubricants pertain to soluble oil used for food processing equipment cleaning and rust prevention.

Other major guidelines also include taste and odor neutrality, and selection according to use that the particular lubricant tolerates temporal, chemical, thermal, mechanical, and biological stresses without premature degradation or impact to its neutrality.

USDA-approved food-grade lubricants must comply on the range of FDA requirements in Title 21 including CFR 172.860 for vegetable oils, CFR 172.878 for mineral oils, CFR 178.3620 for white mineral oil in non-food articles, CFR 172.882 for synthetic isoparaffinic hydrocarbons, as well as CFR 182 and 184 for ingredients and compounds generally approved as safe.

For evaluation, food processing and manufacturing plants are required to disclose the product name, qualitative and quantitative identification of all constituents, chemical ingredient names approved by International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), source with applicable FDA regulatory reference per ingredient, and prior product approval from local regulations commission. Food-grade oil ingredients should also be further validated with a separate FDA or USDA approval, and must not be cited in any list of prohibited substances.

High-grade and safe industrial lubricants, including the quality and type used in the food processing and manufacturing industry, significantly reduces its need for maintenance, prolong its gas engine life, optimize power output and fuel efficiency, increase oil drain intervals, and decrease operational expenses. The Industrial Lubricant Store recognizes the huge impact of proper lubricant selection that complies with industry standards, and offers high-quality food-grade lubricants for numerous processing and manufacturing purposes. Check out our product offerings 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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