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Safety of Food Grade Oils: The Who and How

With the looming importance of product safety and efficiency, regulating agencies such as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S food and Drug Administration (FDA), together with other third party organizations, continuously update definitions, requirements and guidelines for food grade oil regulation. These policies on food grade oil manufacturing ensure that food, drink and drug items released into the market are safe for public consumption.

Before products can be brought out for public consumption, lubricant manufacturers must prove that all their ingredients are allowable substances, following the Guidelines of Security Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to have USDA approval. This process ensures product safety and reliability, which is based on the manufacturers’ compliance and adherence to the policies and guidelines implemented by the food grade oil regulating bodies.

The USDA and the FDA are the two main government agencies primarily involved in regulating the food processing industry. The USDA overhauled their program: they now require manufacturers to assess risk at every point in the operation where contamination might happen to minimize risks and prevent accidents. Oil Manufacturers are now accountable for approval and review of the lubricant’s formulations, deciding whether they were safe. Third-party groups also sprouted to manage certification needs as a response to industry need.

Another agency called the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) is involved in the process of food grade oil regulation. NSF manages and facilitates a lubricant evaluation program, essentially mirroring the USDA plan at present in the U.S., as well as in other nations.

Each ingredient in the formulation is passed to NSF by the lubricant manufacturer, plus other supporting documents. What happens next is that the FDA list is used as a reference for verification of the substance admittance to the list of permitted substances.

Aside from NSF, a Joint Food-Grade Lubricants Working group was found and developed by three notable industry professional associations in the field: the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI), the European Lubricating Grease Institute (ELGI) and the European Hygienic Equipment Design Group (EHEDG). The group has been active drafting an authorization program, and developed a Food-Grade Lubricants – Definitions and Requirements Guideline. Plans have been made to use the DIN standard for International Standards Organization – Standard development.

Using high-quality lubricants that are properly checked and registered is vital. These governing bodies’ policies must be strictly implemented for public health and safety. The Industrial Lubricant Store’s food-grade lubricants are 100% OEM compatible and formulated especially for every type of industrial equipment used in the food services industry.  Made of the highest quality synthesized hydrocarbon fluids, these formulations offer extended life and protect against wear, rust, and corrosion.  View our selections 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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