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Raising the grade for food-safe industrial products

A unique challenge in the industrial food and beverage processing sector is the requirement for preventative maintenance on machinery that has the potential to cause trace contamination in products. 

The Australia and New Zealand Food Statistics board revealed that 55 per cent of product recalls were caused by chemical, foreign-body, or biological contamination, between 2008 and 2017 – resulting in millions of dollars in profit losses to manufacturers. 1 

Businesses also risk falling out of favour with their customers when a recall is announced, which is why careful consideration must be made in the management of chemicals, greases and lubricants that are used in a food and beverage processing environment. 

With recall concerns on the rise amongst manufacturers, Queensland-based company Candan Industries has taken steps to expand their INOX food-grade lubricant range in an effort to greatly reduce the risk of accidental contamination. 

As a national distributor of INOX products, BSC is working in conjunction with managers and representatives to promote their range of food-safe oils and greases in the food and beverage sector across Australia, explains Steve Keown, BSC National Product Manager for Lubricants. 

“INOX has three key product formulas developed for maintenance of machinery in food and beverage plants: MX3 FG, MX5 and MX6,” said Keown. 

“The MX3 FG is a multi-purpose penetrating oil spray, ideal for threads and switches for protection from corrosion.

“The MX5 is an extreme pressure lubricant that contains Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) for high load applications including high-speed drilling and machining. While the MX6 is a food-grade bearing grease that has a PAO-based oil and clay thickener which is excellent for bearings, chains, sprockets, geared joints, hinge and bushes.

“INOX’s food-grade range are all NSF Certified with a H1 rating, for maximum protection of the produced goods; and in some cases, we have found these lubricants can enhance the performance of a piece of machined equipment.” 

Over the last few years, the Australian Department of Agriculture has tightened up on standards and regulations for industrial products that will be utilised in the food manufacturing and processing sectors, aligning more closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) regulatory codes.

The USDA mandated food-grade designation for an H1 product means the approval and registration of a lubricant depends on the product’s ingredients.

If a lubricant is intended for use in food processing environments where there is a risk of accidental contact, the formula must contain only the approved base stocks, additives, and thickeners listed in the USDA Code of Federal Regulations item: 21 CFR 178.3750. 

Lubricants are mixtures of base oils and low levels of additives.

Three types of base oils that are used to formulate food grade lubricants are pure grades of mineral oils that are highly refined from naturally occurring deposits of petroleum, synthetic base oils such as polyalphaolephins (PAOs), polyalkalene glycols (PAGs) and silicones, and vegetable oils including castor, palm, soybean, canola and sunflower oils. 

According to Steve, it is necessary to modify base oils with additives so that they can perform as an effective lubricating agent. Additives are small but critical ingredients to a high-quality oil and grease.

They are selected based on performance requirements and possible interactions with oils and other additives.

Some examples of additives used in food grade lubricants are friction modifiers, anti-wear additives, extreme pressure additives, antioxidants, and rust inhibitors.

Occupational Health, Safety and Environment Advisor at Candan Industries, Charmaine Bondeson, says the development of INOX H1 products was the direct result of end-user requirements that were previously being unmet within the market. 

“To develop these products, some of the requirements we had to consider were that the product had to be non-staining and contain no dyes,” said Bondeson.

“It also had to be very low in aromatics.”

But the real point of difference, she explains, is the inclusion of the PTFE ingredient which works to reduce wear, heat, and friction on a machined component, and is completely nontoxic. 

To read the full article, please click here. 

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