Food and Beverage Industry Looking to International Standards to Prevent Contamination

In Australia, there are no specific standards to govern food-grade lubricants, however, contaminants account for more than half of food recalls, costing food and beverage companies millions each year.

Recalls affect not only the bottom line but also cause reputational damage, affecting future sales. To avoid a costly mistake, switching to high-quality food-grade oils in all machines that could come I contact with food or beverage is an essential step. But without standards in place, how do you know what to use?

To avoid the risk of a product recall caused by contamination from lubricants that are not food grade, it is recommended that Australian businesses adhere to the international standards set out by NSF, is a US-based company that developed a system to grade lubricants.

Rather than a one-size-fits-all classification, the NSF standards recognise the different uses for lubricants and split them into three categories. H1 is for lubricants that might come into incidental contact with food, while H2 is for those that are used where there is no possibility that it will come into contact with food. The third is H3 for edible oils used on grills, hooks, trolleys etc.

While a product recall is the worst-case scenario, using inferior lubricants that don’t do a good job can also be a costly mistake, so it is essential to find lubricants that are both food-grade to international standards and effective at their job. The best place to start is with an industrial lubricant specialist like NCH.

“The right lubricant makes all the difference, and unfortunately so can the wrong one.” Said Caryanne Cleevely, of NCH Australia. “We’ve gone to companies to demo our products and seen contamination, really bad wear and tear and even machinery breakdowns, which can cost businesses dearly. It’s really sad because usually they just didn’t know what other options are out there”.

Those in the know use Premalube, a heavy-duty high-temperature grease that is specially formulated to solve food processing equipment problems. It meets or exceeds international standards including AQIS, NZ MAF, FDA, USDA and of course NSF. 

Meeting international food safety standards is a must for businesses to prevent contamination, but so is using a product that works, and keeps on working long term. When developing food-safe lubricants NCH found businesses needed grease that didn’t wash away with water, melt away with heat, dissipate with pressure or degrade with dirt or dust particles.

With an in-house research and development team, NCH developed its products based on the needs of food and beverage businesses, using unique and often patented formulas. The range includes specialised products for specific uses, for example, their Threadeze Ultra is an anti-seize lubricant that works at temperatures up to 1260 °C yet is safe to use where incidental food contact is likely.

If it is time your business got some peace of mind around contamination and your machinery, NCH can recommend the right food-grade lubricants for your individual needs.