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Food grade lubrication


The EHEDG guideline 23 for food-grade lubrication, published in March 2002, lays down the general requirements for the hygienic manufacturing and supply of food-grade lubricants.

All raw materials or ingredients should conform to the US FDA regulations regarding the acceptable ingredients for use in the manufacture of food grade lubricants. When manufacturing food grade oils and greases, all incoming ingredients should be checked for purity before being used. The production line, including storage and filling equipment, should be dedicated to food-grade lubricants only.

Color coding of the pipelines can help avoiding mistakes. One or more food grade base oils are used as the basic lubricant. The oil is heated to help dissolve the additives into the base fluid. Additives used can include anti-wear, anti-oxidant, anti-foam, anti-corrosion, and Extreme Pressure components.

A sample is taken to check if all the additives are dissolved. Additional components are added. After mixing and testing in the laboratory, the batch is released for packaging. Lubricants should be packed in suitable new clean containers and be correctly labeled. All packaging should be properly sealed. Similar procedures are used to manufacture grease, however special chemical compounds are added to form the thickener. Just as in the food industry a hazard analysis should be completed as part of the food grade lubricant manufacturing quality system. All lubricants used in critical areas of the plant should be food-grade.

For example, a gear box is filled with food-grade gear oil. The drums are filled. A sample goes to the laboratory and a reference sample is kept for at least one year.

Or, a pump is also lubricated with food-grade oil. In the tube filling room the hydraulic system on the filling machine is filled with food-grade hydraulic oil. Once filled, each tube is shrink wrapped and identified with a batch number. The box is correctly labeled and individual ingredients will be traceable. A positive release system ensures only approved lubricants are sent to the end users.

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