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Food Grade Oils: Putting the Myths to Bed

Every single person in the food industry must be properly educated about the lubricants used in the plant. This goes from workers to plant managers and owners. Otherwise, dangerous misconceptions may lead to safety issues.

The Myths

  • All lubricants in the plant are food grade – Food grade lubricants are made from components approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for incidental contact with food. You can verify whether the lubricant is food grade or not by asking for a declaration of the formulation from the lubricant supplier, or by checking whether the product is H1 registered with a third party certifier such as NSF International.
  • Synthetic food grade lubricants are inferior - In truth, they are designed to perform as well as or better than other lubricants. There is an advantage in using synthetics that are ester based, because these are biodegradable.
  • No lubricant can contaminate food or beverage during the manufacturing process - Only the use of food grade lubricants approved by FDA can prevent contamination of food during the manufacturing process. Using non-grade food lubricants may in fact lead to severe penalty. The same applies to food grade grease, and hence they should be used profusely.
  • The performance level of these lubricants is inferior to other traditional lubricants – Food grade oils are equally effective to standard lubricants, in fact most of the synthetic food grade lubricants and food grade grease have been designed to meet a wider range of applications and sometimes even outperform traditional food grade mineral oils. In fact, they remain effective even in the sub-zero cold freezers and the high heated ovens.
  • Food grade lubricants cost more than other mineral oil products - Synthetic food-grade lubricants actually cost less in the long run, because they not only reduce overall maintenance costs, but also can reduce the risk of potential liabilities from using non-food grade lubricants. Synthetics do cost more than traditional mineral oils, but the initial cost of the synthetic brings subsequent returns, against which a food grade mineral oil-based lubricant cannot compete.
  • None of my equipment actually requires food-grade lubricants for food safety - Food grade lubricants should be used wherever there is a chance of incidental contact with food or beverage products during manufacturing. Lubricants used in manufacturing facilities can make their way into the food we eat. Oil and grease droplets can seep from bearings and conveyors, can seamers, bakery ovens and other critical points of operation.

Accidental lubricant contamination must be prevented at all cost, as this could potentially harm consumers and damage a company's brand and reputation. Synthetic food-grade lubricants can help minimize these risks. The Industrial Lubricant Store’s food-grade lubricants are 100% OEM compatible and NSF certified. They are formulated specifically for each type of industrial equipment being used in the food services industry. Check out our product offerings at

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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