By Toby Porter, Food Market Manager, Klüber Lubrication NA LP
Look inside the lubricant cabinet of a food or beverage manufacturing plant and it's surprising what you find. Upon close inspection, you’ll see the cabinet isn’t holding only food-grade (NSF H1) lubricants. The cabinet may also contain cleaners, glue removers, and penetrating sprays, which often turn out to be just industrial chemicals and/or degreasers.
Lubricants suitable for food and beverage applications are registered as H1 by NSF International (NSF), an independent registration body. They comply with food regulations because they are physiologically inert, tasteless, and odorless. They are suitable for incidental, technically unavoidable contact with a food product up to 10ppm.
H1 lubricants may be safely used for handling, canning, bottling, blending, chilling, cooking, cutting, slicing, and peeling on machinery components such as pumps, mixers, gearboxes, chain drives, and conveyor belts.
Lube Cabinet Clutter Leads To Consequences
When non-food-grade lubricants clutter up a storage cabinet, there's always the chance that someone reaches for the wrong lubricant at the wrong time. For example, a cabinet may contain multiple, common grease guns that aren’t see-through; these types don’t allow visibility to the label for the actual grease inside. This can result in a problem if, for example, a maintenance person goes on vacation and an unfamiliar or new employee is filling in. In this scenario, it’s very possible that the wrong grease gun will be used and, with a mix of food-grade and non-food-grade lubricants in a plant, an incorrect and potentially non-food-grade lubricant will make its way into the grease fitting.
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