Making the FDA Grade
November 7, 2016 – by Eastern Seals
FDA O-rings and seals for the Food and Dairy industries
FDA O-rings and seals must consist exclusively of the ingredients listed in the FDA’s White List, located in the Code of Federal Regulations (title 21) section number 177.2600. Since the FDA has strict standards in place for materials that can come in contact with consumables, compounds used to make food-grade rubber must comply with the FDA.
Materials that are part of the food supply chain can significantly influence food safety. Seals for these industries are required to not only be able to withstand the speed and abrasive demands of continuous operation, but they must also consist of FDA-compliant materials for chemical compatibility and non-toxicity.
FDA O-rings proposed for use by the food processing sector are often required by law to consist of only the compound ingredients determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be safe for food contact. Materials that meet these standards can then be stated as FDA Compliant.
FDA compliant rubber materials generally offer the following:
• FDA materials are used for food, beverage, meat, milk or any food-compliant chemicals.
• They are odourless, tasteless and offer natural resistance to bacteria build-up.
• FDA compounds provide a reliable service at with a wide temperature range.
• FDA materials are non-toxic, non-marking and non-allergenic materials.
Seals that have met FDA white list requirements have been primarily produced from Silicone, Nitrile, Fluorocarbon, Ethylene Propylene and Neoprene.
SILICONESilicone offers a range of properties including thermal stability, low chemical reactivity and low toxicity. It also has heat-resistant properties. Silicone allows for longer service life and has one of the widest operating temperature ranges from -55°C to +225°C. Special Low Temperature compounds are available which can seal down to temperatures of -80°C.
Using food-grade silicone is a great way to ensure that foreign substances will not contaminate foods. Silicones are used in sealants, adhesives, lubricants, medical applications, cooking utensils and insulation.
FLUOROCARBON (VITON® / FKM)Fluorocarbon combines high temperature resistance with great chemical resistance. It’s nearly invisible under water, and also doesn’t absorb it. Working temperature range is -25°C to +205°C.
Commonly used in aircraft engines and seals for automotive fuel handling systems. These O-Rings should be used in mechanical devices requiring optimum resistance to elevated temperatures and fluids.
NITRILENitrile is the seal industry’s most widely used and economical elastomer, combining excellent resistance to petroleum-based oils and fuels, hydraulic fluids and high abrasion resistance. With a hardness of 40 to 90 Shore A, standard compounds range from -35°C and +110°C.
Uses range from oil-resistant applications of all types, off-road equipment and low-temperature military uses. Nitrile performs well in oil rigs, automotive and marine applications, aircraft hoses, seals and gaskets.
EPDMEPDM rubber is used in applications that demand both flexibility and ruggedness. Made from odourless and tasteless compounds, it can be wisely used in both specialty and general purpose applications. It is ideal for temperature ranges of -40°F to 250°F.
EPDM is often used in the food and beverage industry, automotive products and HVAC parts.
NEOPRENENeoprene has a smooth finish, good resistance to abrasion and repels oily and greasy food products. It’s one of the earliest synthetic materials to be developed as an oil-resistant substitute for natural rubber.
Neoprene is widely accepted as a preferred material for refrigeration seals and has several uses in the transport / automotive sector. Neoprene seals are used for many under-the-hood and under-body parts that require a reasonably priced polymer with great balance of performance properties.
It is important to purchase FDA O-rings from a reputable company who understand both the FDA regulations and your application. This is due to the critical nature of food grade materials. Eastern Seals’ industry experience and extensive catalogue means we can source a range of quality FDA compliant compounds that will suit your specific application. Eastern Seals supply a range of standard and specialist FDA materials. These include:
• Silicone FDA compliant compounds.
• Nitrile FDA materials.
• Viton / FKM FDA compliant compounds.
• Low Temperature FDA materials.
• Metal detectable FDA compounds.
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