Food Grade Lubricants

SWEPCO 115 Food Machinery Grease

Food Grade Lubricants

There is a lot of confusion about Food Grade Lubricants as to where they can be used, are they safe, and what do the different classifications mean?

Food grade lubricants are designed for use wherever food is handled, processed or packaged. Everywhere from the farm, ocean, or fresh water to your local market. These lubricants have different classifications to indicate where and how they can be used.

H-1 Lubricants

H-1 Lubricants are for use in processing and packaging equipment along with food handling equipment. These are tasteless, odorless, non-toxic lubricants for incidental food contact. In other words, if a drop gets in your can of peas, you would not taste it, smell it, nor should it make you sick. There is a 10 PPM (Parts Per Million) limit on H-1 lubricants, above that the food would be classified as “Contaminated” and disposed of.

Most of these lubricants contain white mineral oils, PAO’s (Poly Alpha Olefin’s), esters, or other food grade base stocks, which if they are consumed in any quantity will cause gastric distress and other undesirable results.

H-1 lubricants are NOT designed or recommended for direct food contact. They are recommended for packaging, processing and handling equipment. These are sometimes known as “above the line” products.

SWEPCO’S H-1 Food Grade Lubricants are 115, 116, 722, 750, 755, 757, 815, 816, and 818.

H-2 Lubricants

H-2 Lubricants are for use in areas where the lubricant will NOT come into contact with food such as on a forklift or enclosed gearbox. These lubricants must be free of trace elements of carcinogens, mutagens, mineral acids, or heavy metals. These are commonly referred to as lubricants for “below the line”.

SWEPCO’S H-2 lubricants are 123, 110, 201, 702, 704, 703, 714, 709, 711, 712, 801,102,104, and 737.

H-3 Lubricants

H-3 Lubricants are often edible oils such as corn, sunflower, and olive oils that are safe for human consumption. These products can come into contact with food and are generally regarded as safe and exempt. They are often used to clean and prevent rust on hooks, conveyor belts, and trolleys.

SWEPCO currently does not have products that meet this requirement.

3-H Lubricants

3-H Lubricants are commonly known as release agents. These are used on grills, loaf pans, cutters, boning benches, chopping boards and other hard surfaces that come into contact with meat and poultry to prevent food from sticking to the equipment. These products are usually edible oils such as corn, sunflower, olive, or mineral oil complying with 21 CFR Section 172.878. Others that are generally accepted as safe can be used after review by a regulating agency such as NSF.

SWEPCO currently does not have products that meet this requirement.

A-4 Cleaners

A-4 Cleaners are used on the floor and walls for cleaning purposes. These products are diluted in water and dry with little or no residue.
SWEPCO Zonex-K meets the A-4 specification and can be used in food plants for cleaning purposes on floors and walls.

The NSF won the bid and took over the part of the USDA that regulated non-food products used in food plants and production.

Health Canada now oversees no-food products and issues a “Letter of no Concern” with use limits and requirements. There are other regulating agencies around the world, however the review and approval by NSF is generally accepted.

Source: SWEPCO®


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